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ADVENT DEVOTIONAL DECEMBER 22: A PILGRIMAGE

By Stephen Fox

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the East came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw His star when it rose and have come to worship Him.”

Matthew 2:1-2

This past summer, our family toured Cologne Cathedral as part of our European vacation. This building is impressive, both on the outside as well as within. Slowly we wended our way from the entrance through various bays containing all manner of religious works, past the transept infused with stained glass, then around the ambulatory decorated with mosaics until we reached the Shrine of the Three Kings. Within this gilded triple sarcophagus reportedly lays the bones of those same three men who came from the East to visit the newly born king of the Jews.

In some ways, this was a holy pilgrimage, as we did exactly what people have done for the past seven hundred years. In other ways, this was a struggle, because our six-year-old child constantly pulled us away from contemplating various sculptures and paintings, consistently leading us on to our final goal, even when he wasn’t sure where that actually was.

In the end we were very happy to reach the gilded reliquary, which reminds us that pilgrimage is an ancient sacred act, whether it is undertaken physically, as we ourselves had done, or spiritually, as we all do in the time of Advent. Its very nature builds anticipation as we focus on the goal, until we find ourselves in the presence of holiness.

Heavenly Father, guide our hearts and minds as we each undertake our own pilgrimage, that though we start from different locations, situations, and circumstances, we eventually find ourselves together in Your divine presence. Amen.

 

Stephen Fox and his wife, Angie, are currently members of the Journey Sunday School class, while their son, Jonah, is in First Grade Sunday School.


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