Have you ever looked up how many Bible references there are to ‘walking’ in the Bible?
The number differs between versions, naturally, but it ranges from abound 30 in the King James Version to 80 in The Voice (VOICE). Starting in Genesis 3:8, when Adam and Eve heard the sound of the Eternal God walking in the cool misting shadows of the garden and ending in 3 John 1:4 with, The greatest joy in my life is hearing how my children are walking in the truth.
Walking has been part of the Advent journey. The journey to Bethlehem, the shepherds going on foot to find Jesus and we too have metaphorically walked through the key events of the Christmas story, over recent weeks.
This we week we come to the end of the 12 days of Christmas and reach the Feast of Epiphany on 6th January. It commemorates the wise men visiting Jesus. They first visited King Herod, to enquire where they could find Jesus.
“Where can we find and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We observed a star in the eastern sky that signaled his birth. We’re on pilgrimage to worship him.”
The star led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time! They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh. Matthew 2: 2,10 & 11 The Message.
As with many feast days and celebrations, there are various traditions associated with twelfth night and Epiphany. The Telegraph wrote an article about these recently, you can read it here.
Reading it reminded me of being in Spain one year at Epiphany.
On 6th January we visited Salamanca, and after a wonderful afternoon walking round the Old City, and seeing the beautiful architecture, we ended up in a cafe in the main square. My Spanish friend insisted that, as it was ‘dia de los reyes’ (kings’day), we must try the Kings’ bread. It is baked specially for that day and contains a small figurine of Jesus. We enjoyed the bread, but neither of us had the figurine!
As we journey into the New Year with the uncertainties and challenges which may greet us along the way, what can we do to find spiritual fuel for our journey?
Hebrews 10:24 encourages us not to give up the habit of meeting together. However, this has not been possible for some us during the pandemic, as a result of shielding or isolation. Thankfully there are many online options for attending a church service or small group for fellowship, if in person gatherings are not possible.
As the New Year gathers pace it is easy to be caught up in the hurry and haste of life, but having a clear plan for Bible reading and prayer helps us gain a balanced rhythm of life. There are so many schemes to choose from, you can check out Daily Readings here
Three further options are:
- The Reservoir This is a weekday Spiritual Formation Devotional. It was originally commissioned “by Food for the Hungry to spiritually nourish staff members serving on the front lines of international relief work. It is an easily accessible weekday devotional for renewal and growth in Jesus.”
- Sacred Space Prayer Book 2022 Each week has a theme to ponder on and pray about and each day there is Bible reading and points for reflection.
- Sea Salt Spiritual Reflections for a Contemplative Journey, you can receive 5 weekday reflections and a guided audio meditation for the weekend, directly into your inbox, each day. You can take the free trial and received the first week for free!
Last year 24-7 Prayer published a book called Be Still: A Simple Guide to Quiet Times by Brian Heasely. Pete Greig described it as “One of the most important books you will read this year.”
It is a practical, easy to read guide to Quiet Times. It is explores a variety of rhythms of devotion and prayer that are available to every believer.
Reading Psalm 5:8 recently I was reminded of a song we used to sing at secondary school. You can listen to it here.
May the Lord lead you into and through this year and make His way plain for you to follow.