Reading Matthew’s account of Jesus’ birth—there’s a lot of travel involved in chapter 2 for the wise men, for Mary and Joseph, for the fleeing family. As I studied it today with my students I was stunned to realize for the first time: Jesus went to Africa. Most of his life was centered parochially, traveling the rural villages of Palestine. But as a toddler he and his family fled possible death by becoming refugees in Egypt. When reading that with 8 young men who struggle to see value in their poor and forgotten district . . . It was powerful to realize that this continent is the only one outside of Israel where God-in-the-flesh put down his human feet. Yet another reason to spend Christmas in Africa.
We are not fleeing this year, though we have entered into that aspect of the Christmas experience before. But we are headed out for a week of travel, living in tents for half that time, reveling in the “dangerous beauty” of wildlife and open savannah in southwest Uganda. As we organize for survival and wonder about the passability of the road, perhaps we’ll enter into the experience of Mary and Joseph in some small way. As we sleep under the stars perhaps we’ll remember the shepherds, and listen for angels. But mostly we hope to have rest, fellowship, retreat, perspective, memorable moments, and some good food. If you read here often be patient with the lack of new posts for the next week.