The Sanctifying Way

way: a person’s usual habits, actions, or qualities;
the course traveled from one place to another

My friend and I have this saying when something seems hard or God is teaching us some new spiritual lesson.  When we are not sure what is around the next bend and it would be easier to back up or go a different direction.

“There is just no other way,” we say with a smile.

It reminds us that if we had the choice…to go another way…we probably wouldn’t. 

I can remember in seventh grade when I really became serious about my faith.  I never knew a time when Jesus wasn’t a part of our lives but at that moment in my life, I decided to make this faith thing my own.  This experience of justifying grace began a journey that has brought me to this place in this time.

That is what sanctifying grace or sanctification is all about.  As we travel closer to God even the way we live changes as well.  Sometimes we don’t even notice that God is gently helping us become more like Jesus.

The Kings in the Nativity story had a way about them.  They studied prophecies and stars at night…watching the light of a new star.  And when they saw it…their travels began.

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.  He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
Matthew 2: 1-2, 7-12
This is our story…the journey of the kings.  They followed the way of the star.  We follow the way of the cross.  They took a detour to see King Herod.  We do the same.  And like them God draws us back to our paths and leads us to Jesus.
There in the midst of the very presence of God we worship…bowing our heads and offering our gifts.  This is the way of sanctification…journeys that lead us to holiness.
Just a few more days until we celebrate.  Just a few more steps and the journey to Christmas becomes real again in our lives.  For us, “there is no other way”.
Jesus, thank you.  For leading us to the Father, saving us from our detours, makings us more like you.  May we find joy in your birth that will last a life time. Amen

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