On Hygge and Comfort

If you live in the western world there is a good chance you’ve heard about the Danish concept of “hygge” in recent years. English speakers might translate the idea to “coziness”. It is a texture, an atmosphere, an ethos of being comforted and cared for. It brings to mind all the sensual memories of warm hearty soup, a cozy sweater or blanket, candle light, cup of tea in a favorite mug, comfy leggings and the company of loved ones who care for you no matter what.

Through the course of all my medical testing I went on a bit of a hygge quest. Having comfortable clothing and matching pajamas was never a priority for me previously. As my mysterious symptoms came on I felt so uncomfortable in my own skin. Abdominal pain made anything with a tight waist band unbearable. I could be feverish at one moment and chilly the next, so cozy layers became essential. I bought compression gloves and leg and arms warmers to hug my achy muscles and joints. I wanted my clothing and my surroundings to be hygge to make up for the discomfort in my body.

Turns out, comfort is important to God to, so much so that one of the persons of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, has been sent to believers as a comforter, advocate or helper – a paraclete. This comes from a passage in John 14, when Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will come.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

-John 14:26

Of course the Christian life is not comfortable. God uses trials to grow our faith. Outsiders may persecute us. Living faithfully is rarely hygge. But we have this hope that in spite of suffering we will be comforted.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

-1 Peter 5:10

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

-John 16:33

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

-Romans 5:3-5

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

-2 Corinthians 1:3-7

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.

-Revelation 21:4

How is God comforting you in spite of struggles today? Share your story in the comments!

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