Holidays are usually perceived as very positive, family-based, life-enriching, and even humorous times. In reality, though, they may serve as greatly difficult, troubling, and depressing times for some individuals.
As one who absolutely loves Christmas and all its preparations and gatherings, I thoroughly cherish this season and look forward to traveling to Maryland to see my family. However, this year is different. With this being my first Christmas as a married woman and with my brother and his wife having their first child at the beginning of the new year, my husband and I had to make the challenging but cost-cutting choice not to journey there for Christmas but, at the end of January instead, after our niece is born.
While I have wrestled through this entire situation, there is one image that has offered me much comfort and peace—the image of a couple traveling to Bethlehem. This couple traveled a long distance—only to find no room at an inn. Then, while staying in a barn-like structure, the woman gave birth to a baby, wrapping him in cloths and placing him in a manager. For this entire world-changing event, the couple “celebrated” in the company of complete strangers. Reminded of this first Christmas, I discovered how the Lord may be similarly calling my husband and me away from my familiar surroundings to a journey of our own—where we may worship and serve Him in the presence of friends, colleagues, and even strangers.
What challenging decisions are you facing this holiday season? In what direction is the Lord nudging you? Whether it be a typical route or one surrounded by strangers, may you experience a sense of joy and peace, trusting that God’s familiar presence will always accompany you wherever He leads. It does not ultimately matter with whom you are journeying to “Bethlehem” but for what your primary reason is for going there.