Traveling: Layovers, Pit Stops & Roadside Dives

I remember when my husband and I headed to our son’s school for Family Weekend with lots of anticipation—but no hotel reservations. As first-time college parents, we didn’t realize what a big deal this weekend was and how quickly hotels filled up. We settled for the only motel with a vacancy and soon understood why.

It was “fully furnished”—polyester curtains from the 50’s, a faded bedspread, decrepit bathroom, crank-out windows, and the pervasive odor of ethnic food. I left a light on and laid on the lumpy mattress, trying desperately to find sleep and hasten our morning departure.

Although this happened many years ago and we survived unscathed, I never forgot that night in the Lamplighter Motel. The experience yielded two worthy results:

  1. I never forget to make reservations before we travel.
  2. I always try to view the temporal in light of the eternal.

Setbacks (such as layovers, pit stops and roadside dives—or delays, troubles, and unpleasant conditions) vie for center stage where the spotlight magnifies our discomfort, embarrassment, or inconvenience. But when we regard situations in view of eternity, we see how brief, and therefore tolerable, our difficulties are.

All our afflictions are temporary. All our rewards are eternal. Every lengthy bout with illness, every drawn-out legal battle, every day we live missing someone we love, is a single night in the Lamplighter Motel. And that, we can endure!

Lord, refine our vision that we may see life in the light of eternity.

Therefore we do not lose heart… 
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us
an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, 
since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Photo by Hale at

For Us: A Child, A Kingdom, Peace

stockvault-mont-saint-michel138300I love reading Isaiah 9:6-7b during Advent, but I felt sad that familiarity can rob such a beautiful passage of its magnificence. I determined to spend time meditating on the words and share the blessings of that quiet time with you.

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase [greatness] of his government and peace
there will be no end.

Isaiah does not say the child is born to a virgin–isn’t that curious? Rather, he writes that a child is born to us. He is given to us. This birth was not about Mary, it was about us. It’s only about Mary insomuch as she’s one of us. He was born for the sake and salvation of humanity.

The child who was to be born would carry the government, the ruler-ship of the world, on His shoulders. When we think of carrying a burden on our shoulders, we think of a weight, heaviness. But it would not be a burden for Him, but a high calling and position of power and majesty. He is ruler of a Kingdom and we are invited into its citizenship. As ruler He is:

Counselor, God, Father, Prince—Holy Spirit, Father, Son. This is familiar to us, as are the descriptive words Isaiah uses, but take a moment to meditate on those words:

  • Wonderful—full of wonder; magnificent, superb, breathtaking, amazing, astonishing, fantastic, brilliant, great—we will never grasp the fullness of His wonder. Rather than be satisfied at revelations of His wonder, we will only long for more revelations.
  • Mighty—powerful, strong, potent, great, grand–nothing is beyond His ability, outside His power, too great for His might.
  • Everlastingever-lasting; lasts, doesn’t fade—eternal, endless, ceaseless, never-ending, perpetual, undying, unending; as opposed to temporary, short-lived, passing. His reign and supremacy isn’t temporary. It never becomes less, is never threatened, never wavers.
  • Peace—calm, quiet, stillness, tranquility, harmony, serenity; not chaotic or turbulent, no upheaval. In all situations, at all times He brings peace. He is ever in control of time and events.

There is no end to the increase, or greatness, of His government or its peace. There is never a disruption or lull; never a government coup. No one can usurp His power or overtake His position. His government ever grows and increases until the day comes when all things will be under His feet.

So, yes, a Savior was born in Bethlehem… and what a Savior He is–a wonderful Counselor, mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace of a Kingdom without end.