This is the second week of Advent. Each week, four leading up to Christmas, we pause in remembrance of the birth of our Savior. In some households a candle will be lit in recognition of the Advent themes. This week we consider PEACE.
“Whose idea was this?” I thought to myself as I turned off my alarm and rolled out of my very toasty, snuggly, comfy bed. A month ago this plan seemed brilliant. My dear hubby decided to offer to fly up to New York, pick up my daughter Ashley, and her new puppy, and rent a car to drive her home for Thanksgiving. Of course this grand plan meant that I would drive her back the following Sunday and then fly home. That is how I came to be rolling out of bed long before sunrise.
I squinted at the clock (because my eyes had not entirely gotten the message it was time to wake up), 4:15. Our goal was to be on the road by 5am and we were well on our way to meeting that goal…then the hubby woke up. Apparently he thought we’d be out the door long before 5! Soon he was urging us onward and fussing that we were not moving with the appropriate “urgency”. We picked up our pace and tried to relieve his concern…but soon found ourselves ushered out to the car, WITHOUT COFFEE! “You don’t have time.” he pronounced as he waved goodbye. Who in their right mind would send two women out on the road, in the predawn hours, without coffee? That was just crazy.
The first thing we did was stop at a McDonalds near the interstate to get two coffees. Here is an abbreviated version of the day…
- Kindly attendant handed us 2 piping hot coffee cups, no protective cup sleeves(they were out)
- once on interstate discovered cups too full to add creamer and there were no stirrers or napkins
- daughter concedes to allow me to listen to Christmas music the entire trip, as long as I promised to NOT sing along.
- stopped again to “fix” coffees…coffee spills inside and outside of car somehow (refer to previous mention of no napkins)
- discovered rental car’s GPS is programmed to avoid interstates and is constantly trying to reroute us…
- dog happily sleeps the entire time (mostly) thank goodness.
- finally able to sip cooler, bitter coffee and relished the last bit as it contained most of the sweetener (refer to previous mention of no stirrers)
- approx. 3hrs into drive, found a Starbucks!(thanking God for New Jersey turnpike rest areas!)
- enjoyed a fairly stress free drive, until we actually got to NY
- managed to survive negotiating through NY traffic, avoiding the worst areas thanks to Ashley’s navigation skills and NO thanks to the two GPS devices we were depending on.
- Arrived safely at La Guardia airport in time to drop off rental car, hug Ashley good bye as she and her dog got an Uber ride home, and I caught my return flight back to Virginia.
It was quite a journey, but it was worth it. She was worth it.
Once I was back home, I marveled that I been to NY and back in a single day. Before heading to bed I stopped to finish setting up the nativity set we had placed on an entry table. I thought of how each figurine represented someone who had also been on a journey.
I imagined Joseph’s burdened heart as he escorted his pregnant fiancé across difficult terrain and uncertain future. Young Mary’s advance stage of pregnancy surely made her journey uncomfortable and anxiety filled. The shepherds left the familiarity of their fields. Each step taking them to Bethlehem moved them far from their comfort zone amongst their sheep. The wise men understood their journey was to not be taken lightly. A lot of thought went into the gifts they would carry with them for the long trip. Each of these travelers knew their journey was worth it.
I looked at the tiny baby Jesus, nestled in the little plastic manger painted with hay. This figurine represented the one who had taken the greatest journey of all. God left the enormity of heaven, came to a broken world, in the confines of flesh, to give us PEACE.
He brought us His peace, not peace that exists because everything is okay, because often it is not. This peace is knowing He is with us, He is for us, and He is victorious!
He made the greatest journey because He considers us worth it!
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”