Advent 3: Commuter’s Pilgrimage


On my commute into the city yesterday morning, I listened to the Psalms of Ascent being read in the New American Standard Version. Admittedly, it’s not the most pleasant version to the ears, but it’s the default version in my Biblegateway App.

While I don’t drive to the office everyday, I do follow the same 45-minute route at least two mornings a week. I take a different way in the evening. By the time I arrive home, I’ve made a circle. A circle I’ve driven more than a hundred times this year since moving to Frankfort.

I could do this in my sleep, I thought, as I merged onto the interstate accelerating up to 70 mph.

The words of the Psalmist continued as I head southeast toward what used to be home. Though the Israelites didn’t travel to Jerusalem twice a week in a Saturn Vue, they did make the trek as many as three times a year for festivals. A 33-year-old man might have made the trip about a hundred times in his life.

Did they start to dread the pilgrimage up the mountain like I sometimes dread the morning commute to the office, I wondered. Even Advent itself, year after year after year, can start to feel like drudgery as I pull out the wreath, light the candles, and read the scriptures.

The Psalms ended just minutes before my first exit. Shortly after that, I was at the office. I rode the elevator up to the fourth floor and sat down at my desk. At least the Israelites were traveling to meet God, I thought.

As I worked though, I soon recognized that every spreadsheet I created, every marketing flyer I designed, every meeting I attended could be a thank offering to God. And every criticism, every complaint, every bit of gossip a burnt offering poured out on the altar.

As I completed my pilgrimage that evening, I saw just a glimpse of the miracle being accomplished in me through this regular commute, and through this annual visitation of the ancient themes of waiting and coming and expecting.

“The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever.” – Psalm 122:8

Photo by Travis Isaacs, via Flickr, used with permission under the Creative Commons License.


Charity Singleton Craig

Charity Singleton Craig is a writer, author, and speaker, helping readers grow in their faith and experience true hope in the middle of life’s joys and sorrows. She is the author of My Year in Words: what I learned from choosing one word a week for one year and coauthor of On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life That Lasts.

  • Monica Sharman ,

    Charity, this was so great. Makes me wonder what I miss out on by working at home. 🙂

    Hey, have you ever read Eugene Peterson’s A Long Obedience in the Same Direction? It’s on the Psalms of Ascents! I’m done with my copy and have been looking for a good home for it…

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      Charity Singleton Craig ,

      Monica – I have Eugene’s Long Obedience. It’s how I first heard of the Psalms of Ascent, actually. What a great book. Thanks for the offer, though!

    • Diana Trautwein ,

      I LOVE this, Charity. Such rich parallels to draw – thank you.