My journey home will include two trains, a tube, and two buses, so it's not necessarily driving home for Christmas, however my methods of transport home aren't the name of an excellent if slightly cheesy 80s Christmas hit, so apologies in advance for the misleading title.
Now that's out of the way, it's worth reflecting on travel at this time of year. As students, we are or will be travelling to spend Christmas at home or with relatives. My journey into the deep dark South of England will take me little over 5 hours, and I will have the comfort of wifi and my phone to keep me occupied during that time. Who knows, I might even read a book.
Whether our journeys are short or long, in cars, trains, planes or boats, we will all be on the move at some point in the next few weeks. During my travel I hope to reflect on the journey taken by Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, as they waited for the arrival of Jesus, and I would like to challenge you to do the same.
As the crow flies, Nazareth to Bethlehem is about 70 miles, but because of the terrain, it's likely that they would have walked about 130 miles to reach their destination. That's about 44 hours of walking in desert and dust. Bearing in mind Mary was heavily pregnant at this point, it probably took them about a week to make the journey, and they were not arriving to a warm and loving family home but to a strange city of Joseph's ancestors, which was so crowded and overrun that they could only get lodging in a stable.
This advent journey is so unlike my own advent journey back to Surrey to see family and friends and get some rest. Their travel was hard, long, dirty, uncertain, and dangerous. The worst mine could be is delayed or boring. The journey Mary and Joseph undertook looks much more like the journey thousands of Syrian refugees are taking even as I write. Some of them will die along the way. None can be sure of welcome or provision in the countries they end up in. I cannot begin to imagine the hardship of undertaking such a perilous journey with such an uncertain destination, or the desperation required to decide to take such a journey.
As we travel home in comfort and ease and reflect on the advent journey to Bethlehem, remember to pray for the journeys of countless refugees; the danger they face, their desperation, and the uncertainty of the future.
Bethan is on the Student team at the Belfrey. She prefers Earl Grey tea to normal.