“The Road to Bethlehem” Advent devotion for December 23, 2021. Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
“Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” (Luke 1:28)
Those are the words of the angel Gabriel when he appeared to Mary in Nazareth. Little did she know that she would soon be on the road to Bethlehem. This encounter made me think about some of the interesting people we meet on the road to Bethlehem.
This Advent season has been a busy time in our community and for the church. So many houses are being built, so many have recently moved to our area and I have met so many new people in worship. Add to that those who are on vacation and family who come to visit and I get to meet someone new every time we open our doors as well as each time I take our dog for a longer walk.
I got to meet a lot of my granddaughter’s classmates at a recent birthday party. I met some friends and relatives at a member’s recent funeral. I got to know the workers who were shingling our roof and coating our driveway. A new dentist checked out my teeth and a few random residents said hi at a recent visit to a memory care place. As the month of December propels me towards Christmas, I’ve encountered a lot of people along the way.
Who have you run into? Your short list might include delivery drivers, store workers, baristas, food servers, new neighbors, dog groomers, doctors and nurses, a newborn child, a substitute teacher, a future in-law, or a sheriff’s deputy. I’m always amazed and blessed when I pause to recall all the people I talk to in a day. Some I talk to every day. Some I meet for the first time. I’ve learned to appreciate each encounter.
The people we encounter on the biblical road to Bethlehem are familiar to us. Angels, Mary, Joseph, shepherds, and Jesus meet us along the road each Advent. But we can always learn something new about them and from them. Each encounter is a blessing and a gift from God, whether in the pages of scripture or in daily life.
I hope you’ll take a moment to think about that today. Who did you meet, talk to, hear from, or learn from? Who did you help, teach, or listen to? We’ll be in Bethlehem in just a few days. I’m sure you road will be crowded. Enjoy!
Thank you, Lord, for all the people I meet on the road to Bethlehem. Help me slow down just a little to get to know them, learn from them, and celebrate with them. Amen.