As we consider the theme of migration, while we make our migration through life and while we think of the physical migrations that we make, we recognize that as with any journey, migration involves the unknown. While we may think we are certain about our intent or direction there is always the unknown when we head into new territory, literally or figuratively.
This past summer, we hiked the West Highland Way in Scotland. We had three guide books and read those as well as various internet sites about the walk. And then there was the day that actually turned out to be 18 miles long, constantly going up and down, most of the way with a steep drop into Loch Lomond. It sounds treacherous and perilous. And it was. But none of the guidebooks gave any indication of the true nature of that portion of the hike.
So, as much as we do to inform ourselves and take responsibility for our path, there is still the unknown. So any kind of migration or journey necessarily involves surrender. Migration toward life means accepting the unknown and accepting that you cannot control everything about how the way will emerge and unfold.
This lack of control, this facing the uncomfortable unknown, may lead many of us to simply want to stay home with a blanket over our heads! But that has its dangers, too. Life lost, given up, forfeited. No joy. No delight.
The Christmas stories with all of their journeys are stories of venturing into the unknown. Mary saying yes to the angel Gabriel. Mary and Joseph making their way to Bethlehem. The shepherds leaving the fields to head into town where they may be ridiculed and scorned. The magi journeying over countries and cultures to an unknown destination. Migration is a mysterious venture involving risk. Along the way, there is the learning to trust – what is good, what is right, and what is true. And there is learning to depend on others and accept help from others. Thankfully there are messages of comfort and joy along the way as well!
Seeking to live and flourish, may we make our way toward Divine Love this Advent season. Amen.