Advent 4: Fear, Favor, Forever

I have read and heard this verse quoted many times throughout this  ten months. I even used this quote to encourage others and to seek refuge from my own fears. The pandemic has caused us all to face fears we did not even know we had. 

It is Christmas Eve and I take comfort in the reality thatMary and Joseph faced fears they never knew. As they left Nazareth did they pray for protection,  and guidance. Perhaps they formed a prayed around this verse from Psalm 27:

Teach me your way, O Lord, 

and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.

~vs. 11

“Teach us Your way Lord that our fears might not overwhelm us. Lead us Lord on a level path through the  rocky terrain between Nazareth to Bethlehem. Grant us favor and give us a level path from here to there.” 

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. ~Luke 2:1-6

Mary and Joseph also not doubt wanted reassurance that no evil would harm them or the precious baby who was being entrusted into their care.Was this verse from Psalm 27 their silent prayer:

Do not give us up to the will of my adversaries, 

for false witnesses have risen against us

and they are breathing out violence.

~vs 12

There was real and present dangers all around them as they traveled. Their physical landscape and the political climate both threatened their son.

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.’” Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. ~Matthew 2:1-9

What is your rocky terrain? How are you asking God lead you through the pandemic? What do you want God to teach you about the our current political climate? How is hope rising like a faraway forever star in your heart?

Wait for the Lord; be strong, 

and let your heart take courage; 

wait for the Lord !

~Psalm 27:14 

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