I post this blog literally minutes before getting on a plane headed for Nashville. Although I moved away in 1975, Nashville will always be my home. I was born there, grew up there, went to college and had my first job there. And that is only the beginning. My roots in Nashville go deep, very deep. One of my ancestors was on the flotilla with Daniel Boone when he stopped at a bend in the river and founded Fort Nashboro. Nashville is a real part of me; the more than 20 years I lived there can still be heard in my accent. Yes, Nashville is home and I always get a twinge of excitement as I head back there.
The Bible verse on the paper chain today is from Luke 2 verse 3: “And all went to be taxed, each to his own city.” Mary and Joseph were headed to Bethlehem because that was his “own city.” I know the trip on foot with a donkey and a pregnant wife was not easy, but I’m thinking that Joseph felt a sense of relief to just get out of Nazareth. Had he and Mary been the whispers of the community? Did anyone believe the story of the angels and the conception? The pressures must have been great. But on the road to Bethlehem, they were headed to something new. On the road to Bethlehem they were simply a family headed home to be counted. Yes, Joseph was headed to Bethlehem to be counted because in Bethlehem, he counted. This was his home town and his roots there were deep, very deep. Joseph was from the house of David. The Christ child would be born in his home town. He must have felt deep pride in that.
Each part of the Christmas story is a part of our “spiritual” roots. The story of Mary and Joseph travelling to Bethlehem, the birth of Jesus….this is our story. Advent is all about journey. We can put behind us all of the pettiness of the world, all of the places where we don’t fit in, all our mistakes and heartaches and start the journey to Bethlehem. It’s a journey to something new. (God is always doing “a new thing”) In Bethlehem, forgiveness and unconditional, all-inclusive love is born. It is a love so great that all of us would be adopted in. This becomes our story; our home town. Our roots go deep, very deep.
Grace and Peace at Advent