Journey to Bethlehem: December 24 - Word&Way

Journey to Bethlehem: December 24

Continuing Your Journey

Today's Scripture: Matthew 2:1-11

The Wise Men who followed the star to Bethlehem looked for truth, and sought to connect the star with the coming Messiah by following it. They knew enough of Old Testament prophecy to perceive a connection but didn’t have all the answers. But they had a hunger of the soul great enough to embark on a journey that would take months or years to find the promised Messiah.

Terry Dale Cruse

James Layman is a retired chaplain from the Missouri Baptist Medical Center.

Several years ago, I started taking 24-hour solitude retreats due to emotional exhaustion and physical fatigue resulting from responding daily as a hospital chaplain to the spiritual needs of patients and family members in crisis. I found that 24 hours of solitude spent in prayer, meditation, journaling and reflection brings about extraordinary physical and emotional benefits.

Most of all, I was able to get a sense for where I was in my spiritual journey as I uncluttered my mind and soul. The retreat gave a greater sense of Christ’s presence. Quarterly retreats of solitude became a means to continue pastoral ministry and helped me keep on the spiritual path.

I retired from hospital ministry two years ago and a year ago stopped doing retreats. After all, isn’t retirement a continuous retreat? Some excitement and awareness of the journey have faded as a consequence. I have a retreat scheduled soon!

The Wise Men followed the star to Bethlehem “and on coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him.” But they weren’t at the end of their journey. It was only the beginning, for they left that place with awareness that God had come to them in human form and would forever share the journey with them. I hope that even though you have sought Christ and found him, your journey and your search continues. There is so much that he has given us still yet to be discovered!