Travel Provides Unexpected Peace

Travel Provides Unexpected Peace

A favorite Christmas tradition for my family is traveling. I know you may ask yourself, “Did she just say their favorite tradition is traveling?” The answer is yes. I was thinking of all the traditions we have created, held and loved over the years at Christmas time, such as . . .

Family Traditions

My grandma Rene would hide an almond in the rice pudding at Christmas dinner and whoever got the almond got a special prize, such as a trinket or a two-dollar bill. This tradition came under protest if the person who received the almond didn’t like rice pudding. Did they have to eat the pudding in order to receive the prize?

Frivolous Traditions

A few years back, while on a road trip, our family of four heard “Dominic the Donkey,” a goofy secular song about an Italian Christmas donkey who traverses the mountains to help Santa deliver presents on impassable roads. Yes, we purchased a plastic donkey and named him Dominic, and we light him up each year and laugh as we retort in our best donkey sound, “EEAWW, EEAWW.” 

Worship Traditions

 I would never want to minimize the tradition that brings me palpable love and joy, the lighting of candles in the dark while singing “Silent Night” at church on Christmas Eve.

Unexpected Traditions

Sometimes the best traditions are the unexpected ones. @darcycottone #askGodToday Click To Tweet

Traditions that you might miss because they don’t look like something you’d see in a Normal Rockwell painting. John and I decided this has to be the times we spend in the car while traveling on Christmas. Let me be clear, we have never had to fly on the holiday, toting a nap-deprived toddler through a baggage claim. I understand traveling on Christmas may not be something you would herald as a sweet, tender event. 

My favorite place to be on Christmas Eve is with my whole family in Iowa, which is a three-hour car ride. Another place I love to be is at home in Omaha with my husband’s family on Christmas day. We have always struggled with how we can do both. One year we decided we would drive to Iowa for Christmas Eve, then get up on Christmas morning, drive back to Omaha and go to my in-laws for Christmas Day. To most this sounds like a terrible option—not be at home or stay put on Christmas morning? For us it is PERFECT—weather permitting, of course.

Here is why. When we are rolling down the highway, I get my first moment of peace of the holiday season. All the presents are wrapped, all the casseroles are made, all the hustle and bustle of the holiday is over for me, and if it didn’t get done, it isn’t getting done. When we stay home I leave a lot of these responsibilities for Christmas morning, which is less than peaceful, but in the car the kids are usually laughing together in the back (take heart, car rides do get easier when your kids get older). We play Christmas carols and my husband and I have some of the best (almost uninterrupted) conversations we’ve had in a while. We talk about anything and everything and reconnect as a family.

I am grateful my husband enjoys driving us. He especially likes driving on Christmas morning, since there is very little traffic on the road. We marvel at God’s blessings of the beauty of nature, safe and reliable transportation, and our quiet time together as we celebrate the birth of our Savior on miles of road. We also get the best of all worlds in seeing both sides of the family at Christmas.

Joseph and Mary had to take Jesus on a road trip. Joseph received a message after the Magi had visited Jesus.

Matthew 2:13-14: When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

I can’t imagine what it was like packing for this road trip. To us it may seem like taking a small child, probably a toddler, on foot or by donkey with no built-in DVD player to another country would be amazingly stressful. From our perspective, escaping to save our child’s life would be anything but settling. But maybe Joseph and Mary experienced unexpected peace when they set out on their travels; after all, they were traveling with God’s protection and the King of the World.

Maybe we would all find joy and peace in unexpected ways if we were to travel with the love and security that comes from knowing the One who came to save us all.

I’d love to hear what unique traditions you cherish most in the comments below!

When Even Though Enters In

When Even Though Enters In

By Kim Gunderson

She stood among the sea of people, eyes closed, arms lifted high. The music swelled and her arms stretched farther, higher, as if trying to touch heaven itself.

My eyes drank in the sight: this brave woman who stood alone even though she was surrounded by others. Drawn to this tender example of a heart turned toward the Father, I witnessed her boldness and courage, her strength and her faith. She stood alone, but that’s not the reason I noticed her. It was the life she lived as she stood.

She chose to worship even though her child was dying.

How was she able to stand, let alone with such faith-filled abandon, even though she faced such sorrow?How could her face radiate joy even though she might soon bury her son? How could she rejoice in the Lord even though her heart was shattered?

The questions plagued me. (more…)

Abel, the Man Who Worshiped God

Abel, the Man Who Worshiped God

A Mighty God and The Broken Faithful.    A Mighty God-3

Welcome to the first day of our new series based on the Heroes of the Faith. We are looking forward to digging into the chapter in Hebrews where we see faith in action through the faithful few. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Jayna Coppedge will be starting us off this series and you will be hearing from all the writers with Ask God Today throughout the month of March. We are glad you have chosen to join us. Have a wonderful day!

Blessings always,

Abel, The Man Who Worshipped God
by Jayna Coppedge

Photo By Dustin Scarpitti provided through

Photo By Dustin Scarpitti provided through

Hebrews 11:4: By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead. (NIV)

Abel, the first person called righteous, demonstrates true worship. His offering, given with exuberance tempered with reverence, is more remarkable because he had no scriptures or examples to follow.


Abel’s faith, highlighted in Hebrews, reveals what he believed about God’s character. He knew God as generous provider, and his trust in God shows what Paul is referring to in Romans 1:20: “ For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”(NIV) Not only did Abel see God’s love, power, and divine nature without the scriptures, he also (more…)

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