The first had to do with a man who walked up to the baggage check-in counter at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport with three suitcases. He said to the attendant, “I want one of these to go to San Francisco, one to Miami, and one to Mexico City. The check-in man said, “Fellow, I can’t do that!” The man replied, “Why not? You did it last week.”
The second had to with Christmas travel in particular, when another man walked up to the baggage check-in counter at the same airport and saw a piece of mistletoe hanging right above the counter. He asked the clerk, “What’s that for?” She replied, “Oh, that’s so you can kiss your luggage good-bye right here and now!”
Have you ever travelled at Christmas time? Have you ever done so and lost your luggage at Christmas time? I have personally had the pleasure of undertaking the first and have suffered the agony of experiencing the second.
In late November of 1996, I took a trip to India. When I returned home, I discovered that the international carrier upon which I had flown had lost my luggage. It turned out that my luggage had inadvertently been transported over much of Europe before it ever showed up on my doorstep on Christmas Eve.
Having once seen the movie, Die Hard 2, and having witnessed the inner workings of an airport luggage identification and transportation process on Christmas Eve, I am amazed that I ever got it back at all. Or that anyone anywhere else ever gets their luggage back either! After a scuffle with a bad guy, Bruce Willis, the actor playing the good guy cop is asked to show his badge, and responds that it is likely on its way to Cleveland!
And yet, as I sit here typing this on Christmas Eve, I have to ask myself a question. Is there any better time of year to lose a little baggage than at Christmas time? Seriously, what better opportunity to let go of the baggage of the past than at Christmas? After all, is that not what Jesus came to allow us to do?!
The Bible speaks of the sin that so easily besets us; and bids us to let go of it. No matter who you are or what your circumstance, if you would be honest, you can probably relate to such an admonition.
The exact words from the New Testament Book of Hebrews (chapter 12, verse 1, New International Version) are these:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
The New Living Translation puts these verses this way:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.”
Scholars tells us that the context here is of an ancient long distance runner entering a stadium full of onlookers as he nears the finishing line of a tremendous cross country race. Tired as he may be, he is still encouraged to set aside any and every thing that weighs on him and slows him down so that he might finish the race.
Interestingly enough, those in the know tell us that, even today, it is not uncommon to find a marathon race course strewn with various items discarded by runners as they became increasingly focused on the prize before them.
Hopefully, herein lays the relevance for anyone who purports to be a follower of Jesus Christ. As we press on for the prize that lies before us, we are prudent to discard any and all excess baggage. That is to say, anything that only serves to weigh us down and merely slow us up!
Are you carrying any such baggage this Christmas? Be it emotional, physical, psychological, or even spiritual baggage, if it is unnecessary and unproductive, then why not let it go and free yourself of its burdensome encumbrance?
After all, the Christ of Christmas came to lift our burdens and to set us free! Would it not be a shame, then, to let such a blessing pass you by?!
https://www.baylor.edu/content/services/document.php?id=146507, pp. 125-126.