c. 1200, “a defined course of traveling; one’s path in life,” from Old French journée “a day’s length; day’s work or travel” (12c.), from Vulgar Latin diurnum “day,” noun use of neuter of Latin diurnus “of one day” (from dies “day,” from PIE root *dyeu- “to shine”). . . . In Middle English it also meant “a day” (c. 1400); a day’s work (mid-14c.); “distance traveled in one day” (mid-13c.), and as recently as Johnson (1755) the primary sense was still “the travel of a day.” From the Vulgar Latin word also come Spanish jornada, Italian giornata.
—Online Etymology Dictionary
Etymology is always instructive, often fascinating, and occasionally even inspiring or consoling. For those of us struggling with today’s word—those who cannot find their path or who have fallen behind, those who have become weary or lost their way—the origins of the word journey can offer a healing note of comfort. We do not have to plot the entire route; we do not have to be packed for endless days on an unknown road. We need only plan for today. And today is enough.
Fortunately, we have another Comforter besides the etymology dictionary. That one is also known as the Paraclete. He is “called to our side” to be advocate and counselor. He will walk alongside us on our journey, however many weary steps we must take, whatever winding curves we encounter.
May we all accept the comfort of the Holy Spirit and follow the light that he provides for the path as we continue on this Advent journey to Bethlehem and beyond.