Somewhere between being sixteen and the first year of having a "real job," most women in my country are faced with the fact that life is a lot of work. We realize that life is not at all like Pride and Prejudice. How we come to terms with that reality goes a long way in deciding what life will be like. Will we smile at the future and face our days with hope? Or will we growl at each new challenge and grow old with a furrowed brow? Life is work, and it's part of the cross we bear if we are women who follow Christ.
For some wives, marriage is a cross they bear. How we come to terms with the work marriage takes goes a long way in deciding what our life will be like.
If you look at the Christmas story as all of Jesus' life, you'll find a cross bearer, and it wasn't Jesus. Like a lot of us, Simon of Cyrene was minding his own business and probably excited about his prospects, as he was "coming in from the country" into the big city of Jerusalem at the time of the Passover and Sabbath. He wasn't expecting to have to carry a cross.
As Immanuel, God with us, was led away through the streets, the soldiers seized Simon and "placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus" (The whole story is here from Luke 23:26-32). Suddenly carrying the heavy load of a cross, the symbol of judgment, country Simon found himself thrust in line with the bruised Jesus, 2 criminals, and a riotous crowd of angry people pressing in at him. Did he feel like it was unfair? A shock? No one told him a trip to the big city might include this.
None of us enters marriage or making a home expecting to be seized by life's hardest circumstances and made to carry a cross. It seems unfair, a shock ... no one tells you that a trip through marriage might include this. But Simon wasn't carrying his own cross; he was carrying Jesus' cross. Our Immanuel, who became flesh to be the Savior of the world, asks us to do the same. Carry HIS cross, daily, even in marriage and home making.
"... The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day.” And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it." (Luke 9:22-24)
Are you dragging around your own cross, or are you carrying His? By now we all know that we aren't starring in a modern version of Pride and Prejudice, and we're making the decision of whether or not we'll deny ourselves TODAY and take up HIS cross and follow HIM. It's the way to save our marriages and our homes and our selves.
Let's make room for Jesus this Christmas by setting aside our own hang ups that we're so used to dragging around. That means we don't just keep talking and whining about our problems, never seeking the help, wisdom, and control of the Son of Man. It means we see our work as a way to serve Jesus and give glory to Him. If we get rid of the cross we heave up on ourselves each day, we'll have room for His.