Advent 15: Baggage Claim

I am not a seasoned traveler. No matter how many times I go to visit my mom, I feel like a newbie all over again. I still get nervous when the plane takes off and lands.

One thing I have learned is to pack less. It’s much easier to travel with a lighter bag and just enough to entertain myself on the flight.

On my recent trip to visit my mom, I watched people tugging and lugging huge backpacks and bulging roll-on bags. They were juggling coats and coffee, books and briefcases. They wrestled them into the overheads and scrunched them to fit under the seat in front of them. So much energy was expended…wasted. So much frustration. A few broken nails. And lots of colorful language–cover the children’s ears.

It reminded me of something I read in Max Lucado’s book, Traveling Light. He tells the story of a time when he was away at a speaking engagement and he didn’t realize until he arrived at his hotel room that he had claimed the wrong bag. He goes on to talk about how no sane person would keep the wrong bag–what would he do with women’s clothing? His point: often we carriage baggage that is not our own.

Unwanted baggage can infiltrate our Advent and Christmas experience, too. Ebenezer wasn’t the only one who has nightmares from ghosts of Christmases past.

What would happen if we carried less into the holidays? Perhaps if we projected less from the past into the present and traveled lighter? We might find more energy to enjoy the present.

As I was thinking about this I was reminded of the image of Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem. On that arduous journey they only carried the essentials. It was probably good since they ended up having to flee to Egypt.

In the midst of his ministry to the masses, Jesus looked out on the crowd and had compassion on them. I picture him lifting his arms in invitation as he said: 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV).”

Light burdens. That’s the gift he brings. Sounds like the best way to travel to me.

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