“Walk barefoot through these last days of Advent.” These words, or something like them, struck me as I read in the stillness of a sleepy house. Do you ever come across a phrase or even just one word that stops you? Keeps turning over and over in your mind? You start asking questions? You start to see things? Feel things?
I went literal and decided I would walk barefoot today in my house. Not a terribly insane to do indoors, but it is winter and the floor is cold. My experiment was born out of my wondering about Mary and Joseph. Their long walk on foot and glorified ride on the back of a donkey. I have wondered about their journey, their fears, their obedience, their trust, their questions, their faithfulness.
So I started well. A warm shower bought me a few extra minutes with no socks and no slippers. I am known to bring my slippers with me to a friends home – warm toes are very important to me – so I was determined to do this. But after a couple of hours, I folded. With frigid tootsies, I pulled on my fuzzy slippers and got to work. And forgot about Mary. Forgot about Joseph. Forgot about anything uncomfortable excepting my stiff joints after sitting on the floor for a couple hours wrapping presents.
The slippers come off, a rush of cold air, and a reminder. A long forgotten road, dust and sun and pain and hunger and questions. And obedience and trust and faithfulness.
Never before has it occurred to me to think so much of Mary and Joseph. Yet God thought so much of them. He saw purity and integrity. He saw gentleness and the strength to bear the weight of scorning stares, poisonous words, even the rush of escaping death in the middle of the night. He saw perserverance and devotion to the Creator of all, the God of love, the Father of their child. Mary, to know God’s hand over her, Joseph to believe God’s protection over them all. Listening.
I feel it – the cold floor on the bottom of my feet. Yet I feel it. And see it. Two people, humble in living, raising the King of Kings, obeying, trusting, faithfully following after the God who knew them. Who knows me today.
Take of your shoes. Read the story. Listen to each word out loud with bare feet on cold floors or wet grass or dusty fields. Let the words live and listen quietly to God. He has so much to tell you.