By Becky Gilbert
com·fort - ˈkəmfərt/
noun: a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint
It would probably be safe to say that a lot of people in the year 2017 would agree with this definition of the word comfort.
Have you seen any new car commercials recently? They talk about how much leg room is available and how much cargo you can carry with you in a certain vehicle.
What about furniture commercials? I doubt if you would ever see a sofa advertised as ‘hard as a rock!’ Even commercials for food or drinks, sometimes, use images of people getting home from work or school, taking of their shoes, putting on comfortable clothes and grabbing a snack or cup of coffee something that makes us feel the comfort of home.
However, if we look further than just the first definition of comfort, we find this:
the easing or alleviation of a person's feelings of grief or distress
This definition, paired with today’s scripture from Isaiah, made me stop everything I was doing. Speaking for myself, I am extremely good at alleviating my own discomfort. Headache? Grab a Tylenol. Toothache? Anbesol. Stomach ache? Pepto. When I get home from work, I like to take some time to rest in my favorite chair and watch my favorite TV shows. Don’t feel like cooking? Order in. Comfort? Got it!
What about those around me? What about my kids? What about people in my town who have no place to go to get comfortable? What about those who are fighting illness that cannot be fixed with an aspirin? It has become too easy for us, for me, to take the comfort we are offered because of Jesus’ sacrifice and apply it our own lives without considering how our comfort keeps us from being empathetic to people who have not been able to find comfort from their suffering.
During this season of Advent, let’s get back to being the ones ‘crying out in the wilderness’, through Jesus we have been comforted and forgiven of the things that separate us from God. Don’t take all that comfort and use it only for yourself, look around you and make the way level for someone whose journey is hard and could use some comfort.
Questions for Discussion/Reflection:
How do you find comfort for yourself? Where might you be finding too much comfort?
What kinds of discomfort do you see around you? How can you become more aware of the needs of others during this Advent season?
How will you be a voice 'crying out in the wilderness' for those in need?