The Inconvenient Thing

If you are among those lucky folks whose family lives close by, consider yourself very blessed.  Our family isn’t so fortunate. My parents live 1300 miles away. My brother lives 800 miles away.  My wife’s folks are 450 miles away. When we want to celebrate the Christmas holiday with family it is a most inconvenient activity.  In fact, all my life this has pretty much been the story. As a child my grandparents were all four hours away from us and we always spent our Christmas breaks on the road.  Now-a-days I’m at least home for Christmas, being a pastor and all. But we’ve had many a Christmas afternoon where we’re hitting the road travelling to see our loved ones. Inconvenient, yes?  But worth it? You bet.

So much of our lives today are rich with activities helping us to fight inconvenience.  Modern plumbing is probably one of the first amenities that comes to mind. The automobile, trains and planes have also come along to help.  We even now have growing amounts of businesses trying to ship you everything known to man, even food, straight to your homes at your quick convenience, soon you won’t have to lift a finger.
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But is all of this convenience good?  Some of it surely. But let’s not get ourselves too deep into thinking that being comfortable all the time is a good thing.  After all, if my family tried to stay comfortable at the holidays, we’d never see our families again. We in fact love to travel to see our loved ones.  Just last weekend we made an 800 mile roundtrip for a family gathering in under 36 hours, it was a crazy amount of driving and terribly inconvenient as some of us were sick, but completely worth it.  We wouldn’t have traded that time with family for anything.

As you enjoy this Christmas season I would like to challenge you to do the inconvenient thing.  Take that step out of your comfort zone. After all, we do our best growing when we are uncomfortable.  Maybe the inconvenient thing for you this year is to make that trip to see friends and family out of town.  Its worth the time, the gas, the effort. Maybe the inconvenient thing for you is to reach out to that estranged loved one you haven’t spoken to you in awhile. Maybe its time to take that leap and begin to patch things up.  Maybe the inconvenient thing is to find that someone else in need who could use your help. Most of life’s greatest moments come when we do the inconvenient thing and get out of our comfort zones.

I preached to my congregation on Christmas Eve about God doing the inconvenient thing in sending Jesus, the Christ Child to Bethlehem.  What must it have been like for the Son of God to leave the splendor and comfort of heaven to dwell in human flesh with all its myriad of inconveniences.  Yet God did so because of love. He loves us, every last one of us so much, that He would do anything for us, and did. That’s the essence of the Christmas spirit. That in the birth of Jesus Christ God gave His greatest gift, pure love in Jesus. And we people here on this earth receive that greatest gift and now become the givers. What a treat it is, not only at Christmas, but every day to be givers of this greatest gift of pure love.  It might be inconvenient, but its worth it.

To God be the glory.

Mark Witte is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church. Contact him at pastorwitte@gmail.com

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