Today it was good to return to the fitness center for a workout. Christian joined me and “coached” me along. This afternoon, Debbie and I took my mother to Greeley to see her sister and allow her to spend the night with her. I also had a doctor’s appointment, that required an exam and test that won’t be completed until next Monday. Tonight we are taking care of the grand kids while Chrsitian and Bridget are having a “date night.”
BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “…when he [Joseph] heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth.” Matthew 2:22 NIV
Where should “He is born King of the Jews” be raised? Where would most Kings be found? Jerusalem seems to be a natural place. It is was the “Capital” city and the center of worship with the Temple being found there. It can be surmised that in this region is where Joseph had in mind to settle after their time of being refugees in Egypt.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem, his parents took Him to Jerusalem to be circumcised for the traditional offerings to be offered. When the wise men came to Jerusalem they were directed to Bethlehem where Joseph and Mary had taken up residence in a house.
They sojourned to Egypt when Herod began his “killing spree.” Now it was time for them to return to the “Land of Israel.” As the angel appears to Joseph in a dream for the fourth and final time recorded in scripture, they return to Nazareth, which seemed to be “plan B” for the young family.
However, it is was in Nazareth when all of this grand plan began. It was there that both Mary and Joseph lived before their lives were so drastically changed and sent them on this open-ended journey. Nazareth was no city of prominence. As a matter of fact its only “claim to fame” would be that Jesus was called a “Nazarene” which was not regarded as a compliment.
When Jesus began His ministry and Nathaniel came to tell Philip the news; his response was, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip.” (John 1:46 NIV)
But for Mary and Joseph, it was home. It is interesting that when life is in an upheaval that we seek for the familiar, the known, the place where we are comfortable. It may have changed but it is still, “home.” We can view movies today about an individual who “returns home.”
As I consider this “return” I am reminded of those who have been removed from the place they would call “home” not due to circumstances beyond their control, but by their own choosing. Somewhat like the “prodigal son.” When life delivers the unexpected their is an innate desire to “return” home. To go back to the place where “it all began.”
This can take place in a “figurative” sense in our spiritual lives. Especially, when some one knows of God’s love and grace, but shuns it and runs from it. I have met individuals who have confessed, “My godly mother would not approve of the life I am living.” I recall my words to a struggling young man who was confused in his life and relationship to the Lord. I told, “you are not miserable due to your lack of faith, but due to the fact that as a person of faith you are trying to live as someone without a knowledge of God.”
The solution for “spiritual” prodigals is to “return home.” I am reminded of the words of the resurrected Christ to the Church in Ephesus, that had wandered from their fervent love for the Lord, “Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.” (Revelation 2:5 NIV)
For some this Christmas season and as we face a New Year, “it may be time to return home.”
Prayer for today… Lord, thank You that when we are connected with You in a relationship of faith, love and trust, we find ourselves “at home.” For those who have wandered, allow them to sense Your divine intervention into the confusion and even “pig-pen” existence of their life and compel to them to return to a “heavenly” father who is longing and waiting for them to return.