Christmas Travel

When some genius suggested that they allow cell phone use on airplanes, the push-back was instantaneous and unanimous.  Which makes me wonder: If everyone is upset about it, then who would actually want to make the calls?  (All God’s people say, “Not me!”)  The consensus is that flying, in terms of discomfort and inconvenience, is about one notch down from getting a colonoscopy. Having to put up with inane cell phone conversations as well, might just push people over the edge.

Have we become a bunch of wimps?  I wonder how we would have felt about travel by donkey – in the last few weeks of pregnancy!  Christmas rapidly approaches at the speed of a commuter train.  As I’ve been revisiting some of the passages in the Bible that pertain to Jesus’ birth, I’ve been struck by how inconvenienced Mary and Joseph were by travel.  Mary was greatly favored by God but that meant she was going to have to endure travel – tough travel.

The angel comes to Mary and tells her:

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.  You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. (Luke 1:3032)

We can only imagine Mary’s astonishment, to be told that she, a virgin, was pregnant with the Son of God.  But on top of that, she had to travel.  First to see her relative, Elizabeth.  Then back home.  Then up to Bethlehem.  You’ve heard what happened there and what a hassle that turned out to be.  But then more travel, this time to Egypt.  And then back to Nazareth.

It’s true that Mary didn’t need to submit to an xray search, remove her shoes or explain the nature of her carry on lotions.  She was not jammed between two people whose moment of fame on TV was a brief video taken from the neck down.  But donkey travel was no picnic.  Mary was traveling as a pregnant woman and then with a baby.  I wonder why, in God’s wisdom, He decided that Mary and Joseph should spend so much time traveling, so much time away from the comforts of home.

Of course, that is what Jesus decided to do as well – endure tough travel away from His home.  Jesus left the glory of Heaven and came to earth, not as a highly respected dignitary, not as a powerful king, but as a homeless traveler.  If you chew on the “why” of that, you will see glimpses of how God’s love is revealed in tough circumstances.  God allowed some of His favorite people to endure discomfort and travel because He loves us.

God has also allowed some His favorite people in Lyons, Colorado to be forced from their homes this year.  They are facing months and years of tough work, just to get back home – so to speak.   If you would like to help with the flood recovery efforts, please visit the website for The River Church:  http://therivercolorado.org/    I have been humbled and amazed to see how this small church has been blessing the community, while experiencing their own travels and troubles.

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