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The Journey of Advent

Christmas  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Advent is the story of journeys . Mary and Joseph, The wise men the angels, and Jesus

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The story of Advent is all about a Journey. Every person mentioned in the Christmas account went on some kind of Journey. Mary and Joseph, the wise men, the angels, the shepherds, and even our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. Why spend 4 weeks on preparing ourselves for the Christmas holiday? why light a candle each week , what is the reason for us trying to slow the pace of life down when Christmas is just one day, really one morning when the kids get way to early to tear into a million presents, and in ten minutes it over? Because if you didn't realize it, you are on a Journey. If you are a Christ follower then you are on a spiritual journey as well. And we, are also waiting for another Advent to take place…This time it wont be in a manger waiting for the baby Jesus. No our advent will be in the Eastern Skies when our king returns.
So as we near the end of our Advent celebration this year and we reflect on another Christmas season what can we learn from the past? You know there is much to learn from the past that can be so applicable for today. Today we are going to look at three journeys from the first Christmas account and see what they can tell us about our own journey. Too many people in this world just float through life with no direction or purpose. I don’t want that for anyone here at Shiloh. You must understand that your Journey is special, It is strategic, and it is Sacrificial. The journey’s that are told in the gospel accounts give us great insights into our own Spiritual Journeys. We are going to examine three journeys that will give us wonderful insights in to our own walk with the Lord.
Our first insight or truth that we learn about our own Spiritual journey is

I. There is no such thing as a coincidence

Turn in your bibles to the Gospel of
We read about the journey that Joseph and Mary had to make at one of the moe inconvenient times you could imagine. Mary was pregnant and Joseph got the word that a census was called. Talk about timing....
Mary and Joseph were compelled to make the long journey to Bethlehem after a census was proclaimed by Caesar Augustus, the Roman emperor. Joseph hailed from Bethlehem in Judea, and the decree required citizens to register at their birthplaces.
The shortest route to Bethlehem was directly south through Samaria, but its hilly terrain would have proven particularly arduous for Mary, who was in the late stages of pregnancy. Other factors in avoiding that route were the hostile Samaritans in the region, who could have posed a threat to the two travelers, and the knowledge that it would be difficult for them to find lodgings.
It's believed that Mary and Joseph chose a safer and more comfortable route that took them southeast through the Jezreel Valley and further east to the Jordan Valley. Continuing south to Jericho, they probably proceeded up through the Judean Desert to Jerusalem and onward to Bethlehem. By the end of their difficult trek, the couple would have walked more than 90 miles; much of that distance across difficult terrain.
Opinions differ on how many days it took Mary and Joseph to complete their epic journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Some scholars believe the trek lasted from 4 to 7 days, while the Institute for Priestly Formation cites the journey as lasting a week and a half.
A couple of things we need to note...
A. God places people in your lives for a reason - People come and go that is a fact BUT! it is not just happenstance that they do VS 1 we read that Caesar Augustus ordered a census to take place.
B. God will make you go places for a reason - their epic journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem had great purposes to fulfill. Prophecies () , protection, and provisions were all met on this journey.
Our Journey from East Greenbush to Bolton Landing, to Mississippi, to Virginia Beach, to Malone NY is all connected in God’s greater purpose for us, or more important than that is His will.
C. God will put you in peril for a reason - sometimes we need to be hardened and sharpened like a blade. And you cannot sharpen a blade unless you use friction, pressure, and honing
Another truth about Spiritual Journey that we are on can be found in the Gospel of
We discover that...

II. Our Journey will cost us Something

The Magi we read about in in the gospel account were pagans as far as we know they were watchers of the stars and extremely observant of celestial phenomenon. We don't know too much about their backgrounds yet we do know something, They were open to the Things of God. They were seekers who eventually bows down to the king of kings and Lord of Lords. In their seeking we find this wonderful account that caused them to Journey and for them it was a Spiritual Journey. But like any journey it cost them.
A. It cost them Time
B. It cost them Money
C. It cost them Safety
The Christian Journey is a commitment a life long, all out, abandonment to self and safety. That is the Christian call. You may say “well pastor I call myself a Christian but I am not there” then I dare say you don’t know about the the great thing that Christ has done. The wise men made a commitment that is worthy of modeling.
And finally we notice

III. Our Journey is worship - lets turn to Luke 2:21-40

Just like any Journey we are trying to get somewhere. But unlike a regular Journey our spiritual journey is taking us to a place of purity and holiness. But there is always forward movement that pleases the Lord. Our Journey is worship. Every step closer to our desired end is God honoring
after the 9 months of craziness and wonder, after all the excitement it boils down to Worship. Simple obedience
A. They obeyed God’s Law - A picture of redemption from her very own son. She was to present a Lamb to be slain and she did.
B. They honored God’s servants - They stopped and had interactions with Simeon and Anna. They were honoring their calls as ministers and they allowed God to minister to them by the prophets.
C. They as a family journeyed together - Everybody’s journey is their own, however it is not a lonely journey. This family during the first advent went through some life changing experiences. The came together, and they left together. Fulfilling each one’s commitment and yet fulfilling a family commitment as a family that worships the one true God. There is a lot to be said about verse 39 and what it can teach us. Christmas is about family be more that Aunt Nancy’s ugly Christmas sweater and why she brings fruitcake to our Christmas eve party. It is a beautiful symbol of A family worshipping God.

APPLICATION - what is our take away

Christmas reminds us of our spiritual journey that there is no is no such thing as a coincidence, That Our Journey will cost us Something, and our Journey is a reflection of our worship.
This Christmas I want you to reflect on 3 things
Look for the miraculous in the mundane - God may be wanting to show you something
Pain is ok. It is unpleasant but it reminds us some wonderful truths; We are alive, we are worthy, and we have not arrived. Remember God does not want you comfortable.
Every aspect of your Journey should be worship. Does your walk reflect your commitment to Jesus.
Christmas is a Journey, don't forget that
— Lets Pray--
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