In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole empire should be registered. This first registration took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So everyone went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough—because there was no room for them at the inn. – Luke 2:1-7
This is me, writing this blog. Clay thought it was funny, so he snapped a pic and uploaded it to facebook. I don’t know why. I don’t go to HIS office and take pictures. Still, it’s perfect to include here in this blog that he had no idea I was writing. So you can thank him for the bonus.
I like to be comfortable.
*My work clothes are my pajamas.
*In the wintertime, my work shoes are fuzzy slippers.
*When the temp still isn’t just right, I use a space heater.
*About 90% of the time when I’m writing, I have a fountain Coke Zero with good ice in a styrofoam cup just to my right. Also, there’s a lid and a straw. I like it.
*Kim says I have more hoodies than a store. I think it probably depends on the store, but I am wearing one now, hood up and everything. Over my pajamas. My SIL just emailed to find out what I want for Christmas. I’m glad she asked. I happened to see a super cute hoodie at Dick’s just the other day…
*Lots of days, I get in my car and go to lunch. Because I can. Also, because it’s the only time I see people between 8 and 5.
*Our mattress is quite possibly the best purchase Clay and I have ever made. It is awesomtastic. I think I would fit in well in Mexico because of the whole siesta thing.
So when I read Luke 2, I admire Mary but I don’t envy her. A trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem was about 90 miles. I don’t want to drive 90 miles when I’m NOT pregnant, and that would only take an hour (Don’t judge. Maybe we’ll talk about my driving another day.) That trip for Mary and Joseph would have taken 3 days. And all the Christmas plays I’ve seen say they probably got there by donkey. Ew. There was no fountain soda or Gardettos Original Recipe Snack Mix, and she probably wasn’t even wearing a hoodie. When they finally did get to Bethlehem, there was no memory foam mattress waiting; her bed was the earth. Man.
I like to think that I have a history of readiness to change and a willingness to be a little uncomfortable in order to follow God’s call. In 21 years of marriage, Clay and I have never lived close to family. At 3 hours drive time, these past 7 years here in Midlothian have been the closest by a long-shot. We have picked up and moved to new places when God said so, and I haven’t fought that…yet. But the older I get, the more comfortable I find myself becoming.
I mean, what if God wants me to have a different set of work clothes one day? Would I be willing? Would I listen to Him, or would I just roll over onto a different spot in the memory foam? What if He wants us to go to Zimbabwe? Do they even have styrofoam there?
It’s ironic to me that, as we age and mature in our faith on so many levels, many of us become less willing to take giant leaps of faith than we were when we were younger. Why is that? It’s not because it’s biblical. Sure, Mary and Joseph were young, but Abram was 75 years old when God told him to get up and go. And what about Jesus,
“who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form,He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross.” Phil. 2:6-8
Here’s what I’ve come to understand: rarely is following Jesus “comfortable.” If life has become that, then, spiritually, something is probably wrong. If I go out of my way to shield my kids from any kind of discomfort, then it’s going to be pretty tough for them to own their faith. If I refuse to listen to God about the changes He wants me to make, then my so-called faith is moving slower than a donkey.
As much as I’d like to, I can’t find anything in the Bible that indicates that God’s purpose in my life is earthly comfort. It doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love us; it means this isn’t our home, and He has much to accomplish in and through us before we get there. So as we sit by our fires this Christmas with our families and reflect on the events surrounding Christ’s birth, we would do well to also reflect on the reason those very uncomfortable events took place. I think about Ethan, a fifth grader in our town who points people to Jesus in his battle with cancer. When, in remission, he was told there was a new lesion found, he opened his Bible and pointed to Jer. 29:11:“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I think about Bryan, whose willingness to follow God into remote tribal villages in Africa has him today in a hospital bed with meningitis and waiting for other test results. I think about Wyatt, whose inner city bus ministry had hundreds of children hearing and responding to the gospel yesterday afternoon. And I think about you and me.
I’m not saying it’s wrong to enjoy a fountain drink while you’re wearing pajama pants and fuzzy slippers smack dab in the middle of the day. I’m just saying you shouldn’t get too comfortable with it. It’s worth the question: Do I want the blessings of earthly comfort more than I want the blessing of relationship with God at whatever cost?