Journeys to Bethlehem

As we each make our Advent way to Bethlehem via our personal and communal routes this week, with our own peculiar challenges, questions and wonders, I offer a snippet from this year’s annual Journey to Bethlehem which took place at Five Oaks on December 4th and 5th. As in previous years, hundreds of pilgrims arrived to immerse themselves in an experience of the Story, journeying in the midst of Roman soldiers, beggars, prophets, tax collector, marketplace vendors, inn keepers, shepherds, angels and the holy family.

As in previous years we were blessed with a group who arrived from Romero House in Toronto, a place of refuge for those who have, as Mary and Joseph, travelled as refugees in a time of Empire. After their experience of the journey, one of the group’s facilitators said to me, “It’s a powerful experience to make this journey with those who have been told that there is no room for them in the inn.”

As I listen to the ancient story repeated over the next week, I will wonder about the experience of refugees in our world today, and of the challenges facing us all to keep God’s creation safe and whole for newborns everywhere. These are indeed bearers of hope, as the baby Jesus reminds us. May all children today and tomorrow have no need to flee their homes for reasons of violence against people or the natural order.

May your spiritual journey to Bethlehem bless you and others this week. And may your spiritual journey bring you to be with us at Five Oaks in the year to come. ~ Mardi