Pilgrimage: 1. A journey to a sacred place. 2. A long journey or search especially one of exalted purpose or moral significance.
“Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem in Judea during the time when Herod was king. After Jesus was born, some wise men from the East came to Jerusalem. They asked people, “Where is the child who has been born to be the king of the Jews? We saw the star that shows he was born. We saw it rise in the sky in the East and we are on a pilgrimage to worship him…When the wise men again saw the star they were thrilled and excited and they followed it. The star went before them until it stopped above the place where the child was sleeping with his mother Mary. They were overjoyed and bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened the boxes of gifts they had brought for him. They gave him treasures of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (Matthew 2)
There are really only three types of people: those who have sought and found God, those are seeking God and have not yet found Him, and those who neither seek God nor find Him. I am in that first category. When I was 17 I knew that something was missing in my life and so I embarked on a journey until I found Jesus Christ – a King born in a manger in a stable in a town called Bethlehem.
Just as the wise men travelled from the East, hoping to find their newborn Saviour and King and worship at His feet, my early pilgrimage was also one filled with hope. Hope that that which I sought would be found. Hope that the hole in my heart would be filled.
The Christmas season always reminds me of my first pilgrimage, because, like the wise men, I did not know the way. I did not know the direction of my path. I did not know what I would find at the end of my journey. Like the wise men I travelled a long and difficult and oftentimes dangerous journey. All I had was a heart filled with hope, a star that guided me towards Him and a knowledge that came from within that told me that no matter how dangerous the journey, nothing was more dangerous than not finding what I was looking for. And when I did find Him I bowed my knee and worshipped a baby who was also my Saviour.
One thing I have learned is that my whole life journey is a sacred pilgrimage – a search for my true identity – a search for “me” – for who God created me to be. And I have discovered that my true identity is only found in God, for He alone, is the Author of my life and the secret of my identity is part of His eternal plan. I have also learned that only a fool calls himself wise, but a truly wise person is the one who searches for what they do not know. When wise people seek, they find. And all who seek God, will find God.
“The first step to becoming wise is to look for wisdom. For Godly wisdom is the principal thing. Even if it costs you everything you have, use everything to get understanding, discernment, comprehension and interpretation”. (Proverbs 4:7)
This Christmas I will reflect upon my pilgrimage of discovery, and, just as the wise men knelt at His feet and worshipped Him in wonder I too will have that same sense of overwhelming joy and excitement as I celebrate the greatest gift that has ever been given to me – Jesus Christ.
This Christmas I will remember that truly wise people still seek Him.
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I’ve heard about this baby boy
Who’s come to earth to bring us joy
And I just want to sing this song to you
It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
With every breath I’m singing
A couple came to Bethlehem
Expecting child, they searched the inn
To find a place for You were coming soon
There was no room for them to stay
So in a manger filled with hay
God’s only Son was born, oh Hallelujah
The shepherds left their flocks by night
To see this baby wrapped in light
A host of angels led them all to You
It was just as the angels said
You’ll find Him in a manger bed
Immanuel and Savior, Hallelujah
A star shown bright up in the east
To Bethlehem, the wisemen three
Came many miles and journeyed long for You
And to the place at which You were
Their frankincense and gold and myrrh
They gave to You and cried out
I know You came to rescue me
This baby boy would grow to be
A man and one day die for me and you
My sins would drive the nails in You
That rugged cross was my cross, too
Still every breath Hallelujah