The second candle on the Advent Wreath is called “The Bethlehem Candle” and symbolizes faith. Today, I want to contemplate the faith of Mary and Joseph as they journeyed to Bethlehem.
If you’re familiar with Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero’s Journey,” there’s a point in the story where the heroes are asked to answer “the call to adventure.” Think of when Bilbo was asked by Gandalf to journey with the dwarves in The Hobbit or when Luke Skywalker was asked to undergo Jedi training with Obi-Wan Kenobi. For Mary and Joseph, the call to adventure began with Caesar calling for a census. This census required everyone to go to the land of their ancestors. Since Joseph was descended from the House of David, it meant taking the 69 mile journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. It’s not an easy journey to take even now. A quick Google Maps search says that the time to reach Bethlehem to Nazareth now would take at least 9 hours on a bus or train. But since Mary and Joseph were travelling on foot (with Mary riding on a donkey), which meant that their journey would be a lot longer.
I can’t help but admire the faith Mary and Joseph must’ve had as they took this journey. They didn’t know when the baby was coming. They weren’t sure if they were going to find a place to stay when they got to Bethlehem. On top of that, they were given the task of being the parents of the Messiah. In spite of all the weight of this responsibility and uncertainty, they took this journey.
Do you feel like God is calling you to take on a journey of your own? What’s stopping you from answering the call?
Nothing in this life is certain, but as I’ve said before, nothing safe is worth the drive. When you feel like God is calling you to make a change, ask him to light your path and to guide you along the way. He will always be with you.