In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world … And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem … He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
- from Luke 2:1-5
What a miserable Christmas: travelling with your very pregnant fiancée to visit your relatives because some distant dictator demanded it. Humbug!
Think back about your Christmas experiences. You’ll probably find some joy and wonder, but we would also guess you’ll find some memories of painful inconvenience. You scramble in the weeks beforehand to get ready. Maybe you’ve travelled to visit someone you’d rather not see. You have the day off of work, but don’t get to stay in your pajamas all day.
From the very first Christmas to today, inconvenience creeps in and threatens to destroy good cheer and celebration. What will you do when you experience inconvenience during this season?
One response is to “Humbug!” your way through Christmas. We Christians can often be found grumbling that Jesus’ birthday has nothing to do Santa Claus and Rudolph and the season’s festivities. We sit at the feast and refuse to let ourselves enjoy it. We resent the inconvenience and miss out on the joy.
Don’t do this. There’s a better way!
Every inconvenience is an opportunity. That last-second gift dash will be a chance for you to give God thanks for the person for whom you’re shopping. That traffic jam on the way to visit that relative will give you time to listen to Christmas music (and sing along!). That awkward party you get dragged to gives you an opportunity to ask someone a thoughtful question, to laugh as a joke, or to celebrate our Savior’s birth.
What can you do today to prepare yourself to respond positively in the face of this week’s inconveniences?