"That flight's been canceled."
Here it comes, what always happens when I start to stress out, the emotional reaction that makes me feel like a five year old not getting their way. I've been fighting it for years, ever since being called a "cry baby" in pre-school, but I've never been able to get a handle on my overactive tear ducts.
"So…what can I do?"
What the heck could I do? Three days in Memphis was great, but allergies are starting to take their toll and my yearly sinus infection seems imminent…my office is moving but because we haven't gotten the phones moved I might have to be at the old building the next day…if I can't make it there someone else will have to go sit alone and redirect phone calls…I'm cold, tired, and just want to be home…
This isn't fair!
Flights are delayed, canceled, full all because of a fire at the Houston airport. Come on, people, get it together! Oddly enough when I had left the Houston airport Thursday night a fire had gone off for a good five minutes with everyone staring at each other, giggling nervously, but refusing to move towards the fire exits. I stand in the tiny Memphis airport wondering if the two events are related and if so, why they couldn't figure all this out before I had to get on a flight to Houston. Clearly my schedule is the most important.
"Um, go ahead and sit down and I'll try and squeeze you on this flight, it's full but there's always a chance."
I trudge back with the slightest glimmer of hope, and try to remind myself of the blessings God had already given me that weekend. Friday morning I'd woken up unable to find my wallet. Being the genius that I am, I had been keeping my social in one of the pockets, so I knew I was in big trouble. I had no money, no license, nothing, but had managed to keep mostly calm and trust that God would take care of it. Sunday afternoon I went to check the pockets of my suitcase one last time…just to see…you never know…Sure enough I found my wallet, and even though my credit and debit card were now basically worthless, my driver's license and social were safe. It felt like a miracle because I swear I checked that pocket 98 times…yet there it was. If God could return my wallet to me, getting to Houston surely wasn't a problem…
Still, panic threatened, along with the "me-monster" that didn't want to sleep another night in somebody else's bed.
My new flight left at the exact same time as my original one and I arrived in Houston at the exact same time I was supposed to. Crazy grace. God would have been more than justified if I hadn't been able to get home when I wanted to, but He mercifully got me home right on schedule.
His Son's entrance into the world wasn't quite as smooth…
Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all [a]the inhabited earth. 2 [b]This was the first census taken while [c]Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. 4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, 5 in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. 6 While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a [d]manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:1-7)
I was "threatened" with not being able to sleep in my own bed...Jesus left paradise to come into this world in a manger…a slobbery haystack were barn animals eat.
I demanded things to go my way…Mary gave birth on the floor of a stable.
I think Jesus' birth characterizes His time here on earth; He deserved glory and honor, the sit with kings and rulers and principalities, to be wrapped in royal garments rather than swaddling clothes…yet he chose to live in poverty and to die as if a criminal…all for the sake of His kingdom, of which we are allowed to be a part.
I'm hoping to celebrate this Christmas with this at the center of my mind, that this time is not about comfort and warm fuzzies but about the fulfillment of a promise, the advancement of the Kingdom, and that all this comes amidst the discomfort and dirt of this life.