Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Christmas Journey's

Soon our 2012 Christmas journey will end as we push ourselves toward December 25th.  All the labor and expense will climates as we unwraps the presents we probably spent too much on.  Days of food preperation will be eaten in about 20 minutes.  Most will proclaim, "will not do this next year, we will go out to eat and not spend so much money.   Sometimes there is kind of a let down after the hoopla is gone out of Christmas.   Very few have a Norman Rockwell kind of Christmas. 

As a child Christmas was no different then any other time except we did get invited to all the organization Christmas parties for the poor kids.  But in our home nothing changed, Dad still got drunk and usually I would have to go running to our neighbor to call the police.  My brothers and I have talked about our memories...they pretty well line up...Christmas was harder because we always expected it to be different.  But it's part of my journey. 

Now about the journey Mary and Joseph took to his ancestrial home to pay taxes of all things.  It was a long painful ride I am sure on the donkey and a long walk for Jospeh.  There are two routes they could have taken, each about 92 miles.  Normal walking is about 3 miles per hour. Probably about five days on the road.  The journey had to be hard for anyone but especially for a pregnant woman about to give birth.   The last leg would have been the hardest though since Bethlehem was in the hills.  From Jericho's desert to Bethlehem is an uphill hike of 3,500 ft.   How anxious Joseph must have been to find a comfortable room.  In the midst of the hardship that went with Mary and Joseph’s journey and amid the deferred dreams and dashed hopes, God was working to redeem the world.

This was not a journey Mary wanted to take. It was not the way she imagined it would be. And of course this was not to be the last of Mary’s unwanted journeys. A short time after Jesus’ birth, Herod would try to kill the child, and she and Joseph would take the infant Jesus and flee to Egypt as refugees. Thirty-three years later, there would be another journey she would take with her son, this time down the Via Dolorosa as she followed him to Calvary.

Oh I   know it's hard to look at this picture on the right just a few days before Christmas. We would rather see sweet baby in a manger surrounded by wise men, shepherds from the fields, a star shinning bright and angels singing.  The Heavenly Father and Jesus knew this was coming, this was where the journey would end and ours could begin.  He had to die, He had to shed HIs blood, He had take all the sins of the world upon Him for us to even have a heavenly journey.   He had to rise from the dead to give the gift of eternal life. 
On a trip to Isreal I  stood outside the toomb staring at those words on the door put there by the organization who runs the Garden Toomb.   This was my favorite part of our trip to Israel.   I was convinced this was the place, outside the city walls, largest garden near Jeruselem, history tell us it was a rich man toomb and you can walk upon a plateform and see the skull, exactly the way its written in the Scriptures.  Everything seem to fit yet it was this words on the door to the toomb that captured my heart  and tears poured out of my eyes.  I remember thinking, God I could stay here forever, it's so peaceful.   But my journey was not complete, God had more for me to do and it was not to sit in the safety of the garden.  Out side the garden there were people seeking to find age old answers to why there was a void in their life. Outside the garden there was a battle going on for the souls of men and women. 
Jesus walked all those miles for us, got His feet dirty, touched the lame, the sick, the demon porcesssed, most of all the blood that dripped from His broken body is the blood He placed on the mercy seat for us.  Because of His journey I can walk this earthly journey with peace knowing at the end someone will someday stand at my grave site and say, she not here, only her shell,  she has risen to be with the Father and the Son.  My earthly journey will be over and then begins the heavenly one.
Last night we met with a young couple home whose journey has taken them to Indonesia and now home for a few months then back across the sea they will go.  Their heart is to reach a group of people who need to hear the gospel, translate the Bible in their language and then give them the story of God journey to redeem them.  Their journey so far has reaped some good things but not without trials and suffering.  You see the enemy...satan himself journeys also, he walks like a roaring lion on this earth seeking to discouraging anyone giving out the gospel anywhere.   Just as he tried to stamp out Jesus on His journey and couldn't , he now turns to the followers of Jesus.  If there has ever been a time when we needed to stand up for the gospel journey, it's today. 
There is no let down to the real Christmas story of God sending His Son to be born of a virgin, grew in favor with Him and man...then journey the cruelness of Calvary Road to the cross where He willingly gives up His live...only to rise again bringing hope for our journey. 
Have a Merry Christmas Journey. 


  1. I'm so sorry your childhood is dotted with such painful Christmas messages. No doubt the Lord has used it to make of you a "wise-hearted" women ... one who understands & embraces the fullness of His Christmas message.

    Wishing you new memories, and a very blessed Christmas,


  2. Kathleen, God has used all the pain I suffered as a child to help others find the one who can healed the wounds. I replied on your post on the young man but for some reason it did not take. please know I will pray for the family. His soul may already be gone to be with the Lord even as I write this, a place where he is whole and filled with joy that cannot be found here on earth. Merry Christmas

  3. Yes, we need to be reminded of the WHOLE story and not just the birthday of Jesus. Oh, your childhood was sad, but you discovered Jesus in your heart and not just a manger.
    Thank you for sharing at tell me a story.

  4. We all have our journey and cross to bear. Some of us have a more difficult journey and a heavier cross. Interestingly, it's always the brothers or sisters in Christ that had the most difficult of journeys and the heaviest of burdens that have the biggest and strongest hearts. I'm thankful for the perfect gift of salvation. It's value is beyond calculating... I'm also thankful for those that went before and bore the heavy burdens and difficult journeys to bring us the heart and wisdom of the Father... Especially at Christmas. Thank you for that gift, Betty. May God continue to use the gift of wisdom and encouragement in your life... and may He bless you and your entire family abundantly. Merry Christmas, sister.

  5. Hazel, thank you for stopping by on Christmas Eve. I pray your day was good, making more memories to write about.

  6. Floyd my brother, I see more and more how we each share out journey as we blog along. Glad I connected with you. Your honest way of seeing your past, present and future has blessed me more then once.

  7. The clearer it had become for me as I read your posts that as the Lord paved the way, only those whose hearts see how much He endured and those who truly love Him will know.and understand that despite the difficult journeys we all have to go through, it is
    also a way to be not comfortable in this place and as He removes every bumps on the road the more these hearts will endure and remain to be joyful.knowing that God has a better place. We are given that opportunity to have our foundations shaken so that what remains is His...Seeing alcoholics come into the jail every night it is sad to see that the influence of these substances obscure the true purpose in their journeys. Your heart growing up chose to encourage, grow in faith and sought true wisdom. Nothing can compare to the true wisdom that comes.from God. Only those willing hearts who choose to follow that path that Jesus first showed are wise!!! Even if circumstances surrounding them are difficult they have joy that could never be destroyed by the enemy. May you have a wonderful Christmas sister...

  8. Rosel your comments so touched my heart for you seen the my heart in my post...thanks you my sister..

  9. In some ways, our background is very similar. I've written a number of stories re: my abused childhood, etc. The blessing is that the Lord has used me to help the abused and encourage and protect. He also broke into my life before I was convinced that suicide was all I could do. Since then? Missionary, teacher, "blesser", server. AND, one of the other main present ministries is one I posted about a couple days ago called First Responders. We go to murder sites to pray for the neighborhood, the family, etc. I rarely miss them, and one main reason is b/c I understand what people are going through that leads to fights. I'd really LOVE to be a missionary in Uganda [or elsewhere] again... but think that I'm now a "missionary" in Omaha when Bhutanese arrive or when a victim's family/friends need hugs and loves and encouragement. So... guess I'm here.

    Your post was so well focused and so heart-touching and goooood examples of when/how God helps those who are headed to places that may be less-than-safe in our hearts/eyes, but the Lord will keep the enemy under control so we can serve Him as He is calling us forward.


  10. Caryjo, thank you for your comment on my post. I appreciate your mindset. We are to be missionaries where ever God plants us and for us in stateside. But honest if our health would hold up we would return to PNG tomorrow. Once your heart has been affected by the need it stay soft for ministry overseas. We are meeting today with two young couples, one home for a short furlough and the other going to INdonesia. Our years of experience is welcome with these couples. We are that safe couple they can lay their hearts out to and we will not judge but pray and encouraged them. God has given us both a way to serve him here in the states and part of that is praying for others who serve overseas. Love hearing from you, love your missioinary heart. Blessings

  11. Betty,

    Pondering an old Roman Empire nativity scene with you...

    Savoring grandchildren sounds delightful! Thanks for stopping by to say hello.

    Happy new year,

    Jennifer Dougan

  12. Hi Betty,

    Natural childbirth is a painful process, and simple conditions could add to the apprehension, I imagine.

    Nice to talk with you this sunny morning,
    Jennifer Dougan

  13. Jennifer, nice talking to you too. You refresh my soul with your love for God. Thanks for stopping by. I need to get busy and write down some thought that have been running through my head before they run away...