It’s About The Journey

The jourey may be exhuasting, but eventually you will arrive.

She shifted around over and over and over trying to find the spot of the least pain. You would think with modern technology they would have invented a more comfortable donkey. She shouldn’t complain, at least for the 68.9 miles she was riding, but she was pregnant, and very pregnant at that. Seriously, out of all the times there could have been a census it had to be now? And what was wrong with Joseph, the audacity to be born so far away? She shifted again and the baby gave a strong kick into her bladder. And now another of the already hundreds of restroom breaks! She knew that this baby was divine and all, but the pregnancy was anything but! When she got to heaven she was going to have a little chat with the Almighty about this…

We always assume that Mary was perfect: quiet in her sufferings, sitting poised even though a little hunched over on her donkey, having sweet conversations with her husband…. But we really know nothing of her jouney to Bethlehem other than she went, went into labor, and found no vacancies at any hotel… Why Was there No Room in the Inn?

What we can focus on in the birth of Jesus, is that it was  journey for Mary and Joseph. They had a road to follow, a destination to get to. God had a plan, but it was not easy. In fact,  I can guarantee you it took every ounce of emotional and physical energy that they could muster. God never gives more than you can bear, but Mary and Joseph were pushed way beyond what they thought they could bear.

Last night was Christmas Eve, and Patrick and I made it to bed by midnight. We reminisced over the years of trying to get toys together and eveything wrapped, food prepared, and everything ready for whenever our four excited kids decided to wake up. It was exhausting. We rejoiced in not having to go to bed at two or three or four in the morning. Then I said, “Phew, we survived another one!” Then I started thinking about the journey.

Christmas is not just a labor of love for a week, but for many weeks. There is money to be saved or credit cards to be charged, there are lists of gifts for loved ones, planning meals, throwing Christmas parties, attending parties, participating in the church outreaches, practicing and performing in the Christmas contada, and on and on and on. Our donkeys are uncomfortable, we get stressed and short with the loved ones we are trying to bless. The 68.9 miles seems longer and longer every year.

Such is the season, and we walk it over and over and over because we have an expected outcome. Mary’s journey led her to Jesus, cradled in her arms with the soft glow of the star resting on his little perfect face. Our journey also leads us to Jesus. Mary was crazy tired and sore from her journey, as are we. The parallels go on and on, and are a fun rabbit trail to discover.

Congratulations! You made it to Christmas 2016! Now we look at the birth of Jesus and ponder the gift that he was to the world. We may have family to spend our time with, or solitarily feel alone and abandoned with the “familiness” that everyone else seems to have. But regardless, we have all made this journey. And we will do it again next year, God willing.

The important thing to know about a journey is that there is always an end. Be it Christmas or some other journey God has you on, remember that you will get there eventually. So shift around on your donkey, try not to bite off the head of the people around you, and revel at the expected end that God has given you.

Merry Christmas! Thank you all for joining me in my blogging journey this year!

Why Was there No Room in the Inn?

It now makes perfect sense why there was no room in the inn.

Patrick and I had traveled all day with a baby in the back seat and it was midnight. We were exhausted and in Ann Arbor, Michigan driving around looking for anywhere we could get a room. (Okay, not exactly true, we did find a “Pay by the Hour” place which we turned down.) Jessica was crying, so I decided to join in.

We ended up driving over to Detroit until finally there was a hotel with mercy and a room. We fell exhausted and grateful to find a bed to lie down in. It was the softest bed we had ever been in. It was a little taste of Heaven.

It’s Christmas, so I know the similarities don’t escape you. They didn’t to me, either, as I had complete empathy for the young woman riding a donkey while in labor. (Hard to beat that labor story!)

God always tells us what He is going to do before He does it, and many times the physical realm is very symbolic to a bigger message. Mary and Joseph were giving birth to the Messiah, and this was no exception.

So why wasn’t there one tiny room in the whole town of Bethlehem for the exhausted Joseph and his stoic wife? There was not room for them because the world would not have room for Him either. Jesus will one day make a grand entrance with great pomp, but this time was quiet and peaceful. God made a place for Jesus’ birth.

We are like that, too. The world does not have room for Jesus, and it certainly doesn’t have room for Christians. Jesus told the disciples that if the world rejects them, the world is really rejecting the Jesus shining inside of them.

So where is your heart this Christmas? Don’t be like the Inns. Make room for Jesus and I guarantee you that it will change your life. God will make a spot for you. He will give you a calling. He will make your paths straight.

If you have been putting off a relationship with the Creator and the Savior Jesus, now is the time. It will be the greatest of Christmas presents. Your Inn will have room.imgres.jpg