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The Road to Bethlehem

Four short reflections on the profile of a caribou across a map.

‘Only a few years will pass before I take the path of no return.’
Read Job 16:22
In the frosty morning I look across to the Cariboo Mountains. In these mountains I have seen moose and fox, lynx and big horned sheep, elk and mountain goats, bear and red squirrels with tufted ears. But never any caribou. 

What else has slid away from us, leaving little beside a name?

‘Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them. So shall your descendants be.’
Read Gen. 15:5-6 
The stars blanket the heavens in the far north. The Milky Way is almost a solid path to my eyes, and twinkling lights are thick in every direction my overstretched neck turns. This is the sky God showed to Abram when he said, “Look up to the sky and count the stars. . . . So shall your offspring be.”

How easy it is for God’s generosity and promise to hide behind our lights.

‘To bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.’
Read Eph. 1:7-10 
Polar bears, bison and elk join the camels drawing near to the Christ Child in my friend’s nativity scene. “It came out of my meditation on Ephesians 1,” she explained. “‘All things in heaven and earth are brought to unity under Christ.’ ALL things. So it seemed natural to add these North American creatures.”

What could you add to your nativity scene to remind you of the full reign of Christ?

‘They saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.’
Read Matt. 2
The Christmas story of Luke and Matthew could be laid out like a map. It is full of footsteps! Old Zechariah travels from the hill country of Judea to Jerusalem and back. Mary hurries from Nazareth to the town in the hill country. Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem. Magi from the east – how far east, we wonder – traveled to Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and then back to the east. Mary and Joseph travel to Egypt. 

Where will you travel this Christmas season? Who will you welcome? What gifts will you share? “The child with his mother Mary” has grown into a Saviour and King, so whatever houses we enter, let us “bow down and worship him.”  
 

 
 

 

Virginia Lettinga
Virginia is currently part of the ministry staff at Guelph Campus Ministry (University of Guelph) in Ontario with her husband Neil and Sara DeMoor. The Lettingas are from Prince George, B.C., where the Cariboo Mountains meet the Interior Plateau.

 

 

 

 

 

Alan Dhingra 
A graduate of the Ontario College of Art, Alan lives and paints in a limestone house built in 1852 in St. Marys, Ont. “My work attempts to evoke memories of and connections to the land,” he says, “and what can be discovered in it. I hope the images, the maps, textures and colours remind us all of the bond we have with the natural world and of the bonds we form with friends and families as we chance upon the inhabitants of these still wild places.” He accepts commissions to create a painting about a place in Canada meaningful to you – the map of a lake with a family cottage, for example, or the route of a special canoe trip (alandhingra.com). This painting is from his Wilderness Series; the map shows an area north of Parry Sound.

  • Jennifer is CC's advertising and social media manager. She lives in Cobourg, Ont. with her husband and three children. Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University.

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