Chaplain Kimberly Russell, MDiv, BCC
When Mary and Joseph had completed everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to their hometown, Nazareth in Galilee.
Luke 2:39 CEB
“Where do you call home?” This question is frequently asked on a daily basis. I work in a hospital that treats patients from all over the world and many are required to leave their homes, their communities, and travel to the strange place of Memphis, Tennessee. This journey is not a vacation, but a long treatment journey with many needs and requirements placed upon patients and their caregivers. When the treatment is complete, families return home in hopes of getting back into the normal ins and outs of daily life.
Joseph and Mary made the journey to Bethlehem to complete the requirements of the census. It was not a vacation for them; Mary gave birth in a strange place with minimal resources. Even though Jesus was born in Bethlehem, his home was with Mary and Joseph and he was identified as a Nazarene on the census. Joseph completed the governmental requirements by registering his family on the census but the family couldn’t go home quite yet. Since Jesus was born, there were more requirements to fulfill to adhere to their Jewish customs. Once all requirements were met, Joseph, Mary and Jesus returned home in hopes of getting back into the normal ins and outs of daily life.
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Ever Present God,
Despite my pleas, requirements are placed upon me. Be my journey partner, my companion, as I come face to face with the needs of life. Help me endure the tests and trials and give me the strength to make it back to the place I call home.
Kimberly works as a pediatric chaplain at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. She provides primary coverage for leukemia/lymphoma patients as well as adolescents and young adults living with HIV. Kimberly earned a Master of Divinity at Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, Texas and is ordained and endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She received specialized training at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, Texas and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta in Georgia. Kimberly is a board certified chaplain with active memberships with the Association of Professional Chaplains and Pediatric Chaplain Network.