-Rev Becki Barrett-
Since Joseph belonged to David’s house and family line, he went up from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to David’s city, called Bethlehem, in Judea.
A few years ago, I returned to my childhood home. I stood on the sidewalk and felt the hot sun remind me of the day I returned from school to find a huge mound of dirt waiting to become a playground for me and my friends. We ran. We rolled. We skipped and jumped. The dirt felt cool below the top layer and stuck to our faces with sweat.
Finally, when it was time to go inside, my mom’s car pulled into the driveway and I felt the sting of her disappointed gaze. What was a huge mound of playground dirt had blown away into a small, mediocre heap – far smaller than the costly order she had placed for soft dirt awaiting our new sprinkler system the following day. Busted.
Memories of home flood when your feet hit the ground of a familiar sight. Celebrations and ordinary days – arguments, arrivals and departures. Regardless of the experiences, returning home has a sort of gut-filling resonation that reminds us from where we came and how far we have (or God-forbid have not) come. There is nothing like returning home.
Entering Bethlehem must have felt something like returning to his home, for Joseph. This was David’s City – the city that belonged to his family line. Since Joseph belonged to David’s house, maybe he belonged to David’s city, as well. Maybe this place would bring him the provision he needed to care for his wife in the midst of this mandated registration. Maybe returning to the place of his ancestry would provide some answers to the predicament they found themselves in: unwed, with child, homeless, and alone.
We all find ourselves, from time to time, in situations where ‘home’ seems far away. The responsibilities of caring for our children, our churches, our families, the demands of financial security, the energy to connect to those we love in meaningful ways – all the demands of adulthood can leave us longing to stand on the sidewalk of our childhood home and return to the comfort of knowing someone else is in charge.
As Mary and Joseph make their way to their home in a stable, we are reminded that the point of Advent IS that someone else is in charge. Advent points us to the presence of Jesus Christ, with us, as we find our home in God wherever we find ourselves in this world. Advent directs us to the playfulness and security of ‘home’ with Jesus’ promise to be with us. What we are in charge of is remembering - remembering God is in charge and our home is found in Him.
Jesus, help me remember that Your world does not rest on my shoulders. May my home be found in You and may I take the time to remember to play on a hillside and feel Your loving presence as I find my joy in you. Amen.
Rev. Becki Barrett is the Senior Pastor at Overlake Park PC in Bellevue, WA. Born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, Becki attended Whitworth University receiving a degree in Secondary Education and then graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2002. Becki has held pastoral positions leading family ministry, mission, caring ministry, and became an executive pastor before her call to be a senior pastor in Bellevue, WA. She loves all areas of ministry and developed her own leadership development coaching company because of her love for developing strong leaders using Strengths Finder 2.0. Becki served as the chair of the Personnel Committee for the Seattle Presbytery for six years and now loves her work as the Moderator of the Executive Committee. At OPPC, Becki is known for her humor, energy, and love for Jesus, the church and the Bellevue neighborhood. At home, she is known for hiking, reading fiction, and travel.