Advent December 10th: Saint Deiniol’s Day
God may take us to uncomfortable places
“And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
The heavily pregnant Mary traveled from their home in Nazareth to Bethlehem, and they found no place to stay. There in a stable, Jesus was born. The government calling for a census uprooted their lives at this tender and difficult moment. Yet, the travel would fulfill prophecy, place Mary and Joseph near the center of power in Jerusalem, and gather large crowds into one place where the stories of Jesus’ birth would quickly spread. God sets our lives in a carnival of surprise sometimes, but this is not simply to uproot us or to trouble us. Often it is to gather the attention of those looking on in wonder. God will take you to wonderful, but uncomfortable places if you are willing. In doing so, it will not only stretch you, but draw the attention of an onlooking world, who wonders what you (and consequently, God too) are up to.
December 10 is Saint Deiniol’s Day. Deiniol is said to have been a hermit in Pembrokeshire for a time, who later became the first Bishop of Bangor, Gwynedd, Wales. A number of different days have been set as his Saint’s day. Being remembered as the founder of Bangor, his name is upon churches, a shopping center, a golf course, and a recent festival.
Prayer: Help me with my discomfort when I am upended, or uprooted. Forgive me for my over-love of comfort. Lord, teach me to be patient with the transitions, and surprises in my life. Like Mary, whose patience stood firm in the most tiring moments of her pregnancy, help me to be patient and expectant even when in difficult places. Like Deiniol taken from seclusion to become a bishop in a newly developing town, let me be available for your call should it take me out of my comfortable secluded places into the wild carnival of life.