Journey to Bethlehem: December 4 - Word&Way

Journey to Bethlehem: December 4

Rushing to Get to the Manger

Today's Scripture: Luke 24:13-35

For the last several summers, my wife and I have enjoyed hiking and biking in Colorado. So much so, that these trips have taken on a ritual-like quality.

Kevin Gibson

Kevin Gibson is associate pastor of worship at First Baptist Church of North Kansas City, Mo.

One of my character flaws (see my wife for a more complete list!) is my impatience to reach the destination. This is true whether I am driving on a trip or hiking a trail. Because of my impatience, I’m sure I’ve missed out on some “aha” moments along the way.

When we are hiking a trail, in my haste to make it to the end, I frequently fall into the trap of looking down only at my dusty shoes and the rocky path. If I fail to slow down and look up, I cheat myself out of seeing a colorful flower or unique rock formation, hearing a gurgling brook or viewing a breathtaking scenic overlook.

I wonder if, in our rush to get to the manger, we miss the joyful surprises that can be found along the way. In our hurry to encounter the God-Incarnate, we march along with our heads down, oblivious to the “burning bush” moments that are potentially all around us. Just as the shepherds found the Savior of the world in the most unlikely place — a manger — can we not also discover Jesus in the most unlikely people, places or events?

As I make the journey to Bethlehem once again, I am reminded of this quote by Henri Nouwen: “In prayer we are constantly on the way, on pilgrimage. On our way we meet more and more people who show us something about the God whom we seek.”

On our Advent journey, may each of us travel not impatiently, but thoughtfully and expectantly, with open hearts ready to welcome the Prince of Peace.