Yesterday as I was thinking about what I might write about this morning on my blog,
I kept thinking about the fact that many of us would be going back to work after a holiday break with our family.
I wondered if many of us would be struggling with the early-morning routine and the facing once again of whatever it is that our job requires of us.
I wondered if some of us might go to places where what we believe about life or about Jesus or about what the Christmas season means to us may not be popular.
Then I read about Paul in the book of Acts.
Reading about his missionary journeys, his frequent imprisonments, his routine beatings because of the words he shared,
I realized that I have no idea what it means to have a difficult life.
I realized that I can't even grasp what it means to take a stand for what I believe in even at the risk of being persecuted.
Typing away on my keyboard, I have the courage to say anything I want about my belief in Jesus.
But what if I knew that with every click I was putting my life at risk?
What if I knew that as I clicked "publish,"
there would be a banging on my door and a good possibility that I would lose my life because of my faith?
Nothing stopped Paul or discouraged him from pressing on to the next sermon, the next town, the next opportunity to share Jesus,
and I felt ashamed that part of me wants to stay curled up in my safe home behind my safe keyboard.
I wondered what would change about who I am and what I had to say about life if things weren't so safe for me.
I remember getting off the train in a remote part of India several years ago and being told that we had entered a region of the country where Christians were being beaten and sometimes killed because of their faith.
I was absolutely terrified.
I wondered how in the world our family had ended up in such a place without knowing it would be that dangerous.
I'm not sure how I would handle a day-in-and-day-out-kind-of life where the entire foundation of my belief system was considered worthy of persecution,
but I do know this:
A Monday morning of getting ready for work and facing a job is NOTHING compared with facing possible death because of Jesus.
If I can't get out there and live for him in a world where I am safe to believe in the power of the resurrection,
how in the world do I think I could ever make it in a world where it wasn't safe?
I don't know what the future holds,
but I'm sensing that some day I may have more to face on a Monday morning than dress clothes and fellow employees.
So, this morning, even though my family room is cozy and the lights on the Christmas tree beckon me to stay nearby,
I am going to be thankful for a day when I can work and love and live and share the Hope and joy of Christmas without fear of persecution or death.
Thank you, Paul, for pressing on and praising God even from a prison cell.
Surely I can go to work or do whatever else is asked of me today while praising God all along the way!
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.