This Sunday is Christmas Day. My sermon this Sunday is entitled, “Uncharted Waters.” The sermon starts with the Christmas Story and the tension that Mary and Joseph might have felt when being informed that Mary was bearing the Christ child. The first Christmas was a time of joy, excitement, but also wonderment. Mary and Joseph were two young persons in love, but there were a lot of unanswered questions:
Why was Mary pregnant?
Who impregnated Mary?
What should Joseph do and how should he react to her pregnancy?
How should Mary respond to Joseph?
In a real sense, Mary and Joseph were traveling in “Uncharted Waters.” They were going down a path neither had ever traveled. This was their first pregnancy and neither were they married. Like a sailor on the high seas without a map, or a driver of a car without a navigational system, Mary and Joseph were going to a place way outside of their lane. The angel of the Lord is sent by God to reassure the young couple that they were following a plan that was laid out by God and everything would be alright.
There are times in our lives when we are like Mary and Joseph, traveling in uncharted waters. Whenever you do something that none of your friends, family and coworkers are doing, you are traveling in “Uncharted Waters.” If you are the first in your family to attend college, you are traveling in “Uncharted Waters.” If you are the first in your family to stay married for any length of time, you are traveling in “uncharted waters.” If you are the first in your family or group of friends to become successful in a major way, come into some money or become famous, you are traveling in “Uncharted Waters.”
By the same token, “Uncharted Waters” can be dangerous. For example, being arrested and sent to court and prison is like being in “Uncharted Waters.” The first time a person declares bankruptcy is like going through “Uncharted Waters.”
What I have found is that Jesus is like a navigational system that never fails. He is a map for the lost, sure footing for the unsettled, and hope for those who despair. Mary and Joseph started their marriage in “Uncharted Waters,” but with the assurance of the angel, God let them know that everything would be alright. In like manner, if you put your trust in Jesus Christ, he will steer you, bless you and save you from the treacherous landscape of life. In Jesus Christ I have found a resting place. In Jesus, I have found peace for today and hope for tomorrow. In him I have a road map for life. I may not always know where I will end up, but this one thing I do know: the Lord has never forsaken me. His word comforts me. His promise reassures me. His love enfolds me and tells me that everything will be alright.
Questions for Reflection:
- What about the Immaculate Conception was like sailing in “Uncharted Waters” for Mary and Joseph?
- When have you felt like you were traveling in “Uncharted Waters”?
- Where do you find strength and hope when you are in “Uncharted Waters?”
Prayer: Lord, be my guide. I cannot always see the way. Sometimes, my path is cloudy, rocky and full of danger. Lead me beside the still waters. Restore my soul. Take me to the green pasture. Even when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil because your rod and staff protect me. Lord, the water is deep. The road is rough. I put my trust in you and never will look back. Bless me now in your name. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.
Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/