Friday, December 26, 2014

An Inconvenient Christmas

Jingle bells
My fridge smells
Power’s out all day
Oh I wish I had a fan to blow my cares away…

A week ago Wednesday we came back in to Bundibugyo from a particularly tiring supply trip to Kampala.  We arrived weary to a dark house and a warm fridge, with a cooler full of food for the next couple months (and Christmas).  Today, over a week later the generator runs as we try again to get our fridge and freezer to reasonable temperatures as we battle with inconsistent power.  I am thankful for our mission generator and thankful for Josh who gets the gas and goes to get the machine multiple times a day, wheeling the heavy thing over to our house when it is our turn. But it's very inconvenient.  Christmas morning the generator wouldn’t start on as our freshly killed brining turkey was trying to stay cool. The blood pressure was rising with the temp in the fridge. But Josh got it going again.  This morning the fridge was just too warm and we had to throw out our left over bacon from yesterday and the milk was sour.

I have a basin of 90% dry clothes that I washed a couple days ago.  I have hung them out and taken them in 4 times now.  A haze has been hanging over Bundibugyo this past week.  Nothing is drying.  Inconvenient.

One of my prayers at the beginning to the advent season was to be awakened and stirred.  To be moved once again by wonder of Christ’s coming.  But the stirring wasn’t so wondrous, mostly inner turmoil of annoyance at my inconvenience.  Seeing my sin of self-centeredness that so quickly becomes apparent when things don’t go my way.  I want to question God, and demand things of Him.  Annoyance revealing I have forgotten His good gifts.   

Then I got to thinking about Mary, nine months pregnant, having to travel, in the dust, in the hot, uncomfortable.  What terrible timing for a census.  That’s inconvenient.  They couldn’t arrange for a place to stay.  They get to Bethlehem and it looks like every place is taken.  That’s inconvenient.  Mary goes into labor, away from home, away from her mother, away from anyone she knows but her fiancé (that would be a little awkward too).  There wasn’t even a bed to put her baby in when he was born. That’s inconvenient.  

As I read again the scriptures it says that these “inconveniences” were God’s method of fulfilling prophesy.  God planned on using these events.  It is unclear how much the young parents struggled with the inconveniences or even if they understood all that, but we get a little glimpse at Mary’s response in Luke 2:19 “But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.”  The “all these things” of course includes the visit of the shepherds who had seen angles, but what about all the other things, all the challenges she just faced?  Did she treasured them too?  

As she held little Immanuel, God was with her, quite literally.  How could she not treasure these moments?  Believing what the angle had told her, that God took pleasure in her.  Loved her, had given her a gift.  The inconveniences never took away that gift.  Maybe they even encouraged her to hold Him a little tighter.


I know the savior is offering me that sweet gift too, in the midst of my cares.  I want them to blow away, but He wants to walk with me, through the inconveniences.  He offers the gift of joy in knowing that God delights in me.  He can delight in me because of the baby born to take my discomfort upon himself, that I might have eternal comfort with Him and the Father.  That is truly wondrous and truly to be treasured! I am thankful for the wonder restored.  And thankful for His choice to come and live that first inconvenient Christmas, that I might have the convenience of His presence with me always!

2 comments:

ila kaila said...
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Stephanie said...

Praying for you today Anna. Looking forward to meeting soon. :)