Tuesday, December 20, 2011

In The Week Before Christmas

I questioned my patient's plan to move from northern Idaho to Colorado in the middle of winter, and near the ninth month of her first pregnancy.

"Joe found work down there, and we need to stay together," she explained. She seemed satisfied with her answer.

"What will happen if you go into labor in the middle of a Wyoming blizzard?" I asked gently. "Cars do break down sometimes, you know. If you must go, at least take the bus."

"Can't afford it until we get a paycheck. Anyway," she smiled at the rusty clunker parked outside my office window, "Joe just finished rebuilding the engine. And we'll carry a blanket. God'll get us there!"

The odds were strong against Jesus being born safely that night long ago, after a two-day journey from Nazareth. Mary must have had misgivings about the whole thing. Would a midwife be available? Or would the only one around be her husband? He was a good carpenter, but he didn't have much experience in assisting childbirth.

I think that perhaps we never have the right to demand miracles of God. But when there are no alternatives to taking risks, the knowledge that God is with us can sustain us in our endeavor. And God-directed endeavors can change the world.

(First written for "The Workplaces of Christmas"  1994, American Baptist National Ministries