Read Psalm 122
Psalm 122:1 I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the LORD!”
I think you kids know that Dad really loves Wisconsin. That’s because there is where my roots are. I grew up in Sheboygan, met your Mom in Milwaukee, and lived there until 1991.
When we moved away from Wisconsin, I always looked forward to getting back there for Thanksgiving and Christmas–especially for Christmas! This was the time of the year when we would pack all you kids up in the van and car and make our way “back home.” On the journey to Wisconsin–be it from St. Louis or Lexington–it brought a sense of anticipation, excitement and joy. We would all be back together with family, the lights, the decorations, and familiarity (at least for Mom & me). It was a time to leave all the cares and worries behind for a time. And I knew we were getting close when we crossed the Wisconsin border and saw the sign “Welcome to Wisconsin.”
This is what Psalm 122 is about, and that’s what verse 1 says. God’s people would recite this Psalm and others as they would travel up to Jerusalem for the festivals. The journey would be long, and sometimes dangerous for some. But there it was–Jerusalem–off in the distance. They could see it. Their journey was almost over–for a time. They would see people they hadn’t seen in a while. But more importantly, they would be in Jerusalem where the Temple was–God’s dwelling place. They could worship God in thanksgiving and praise for all that He’s done for them, and continues to do.
During Advent we remember that God put flesh on Himself and caused Himself to be born in Bethlehem’s manger. God has come to us. There’s no need to journey to Jerusalem because He now dwells among us in His Spirit from Jesus. God has brought Jerusalem to us in the Christ-child born in Bethlehem. He brings the festival of joy and hope and confidence to you as you journey through this life. One day Jesus will return visibly for His final Advent. At that time He will take all His people who believe and worship Him to the New Jerusalem–the eternal City of God–to live with Him forever.
During this time of Advent, pray for Peace within the Christian Church. It’s not perfect because it’s made up of sinners–but forgiven sinners. Maybe God will use you to help bring about peace within your local congregation or situation where there may be some disturbances. Remember, no church or congregation is perfect. Don’t let that hinder or keep you away from Church. God is good, and He’s always in charge despite our foibles and failures.
You’re on your way to the Eternal Jerusalem. Your roots are in Jesus and His heaven. He brought you into His New Jerusalem in your baptisms. You’re on your way to your real Home, and Jesus the Christ-child leads you there. Follow Him.