Perth is experiencing a string of days over 40C. It is hot, and people are uncomfortable.
When I say people, I mean me.
And when I say uncomfortable, I mean after I have left my air conditioned house and driven in my air conditioned car to my kids school, I have to walk for a minute or two in the heat and wait for five minutes in the shade before we retreat to the air conditioning again.
I think Mary knew what it was to be uncomfortable finding herself pregnant and unwed. I think Joseph did too. Imagine the rumours flying around their community about the two of them. I can just see those conversations across the fences in her neighbourhood, “apparently, it is conceived of God”.
I think Mary knew what is was to be uncomfortable when she travelled to her cousin Elizabeth’s house. I wonder how much of that journey was to seek refuge from the pointed remarks and the whispered asides.
I think Mary knew what it was to be uncomfortable, when she and Joseph travelled from Nazareth to Bethlehem. This journey on foot would have taken days. The terrain was rocky and hilly, Mary was pregnant, and I don’t believe she had air conditioning!
I think Mary knew what it was to be uncomfortable when she gave birth in that small room, when she laid here firstborn in a feeding trough.
I think Mary and Joseph knew what it was to be uncomfortable, when they fled their homeland for Egypt in order to escape the murderous plans of Herod.
I don’t think I really know what it is to be uncomfortable at all. When I whinge about the heat, or the crowds, or the budget, or any other element of my Australian Christmas. I don’t think I make room for him in my comfort. No, in fact I think my comfort is paramount.
My prayer this Christmas is that I will be prepared to give up my own comfort for the purposes of my God. That I will notice what makes me uncomfortable, and question my own sense of entitlement and privilege. And that I will be willing to see people who are genuinely in need of comfort, and offer it generously.