I sincerely hope your Christmas was merry and bright.
The day here in Idaho arrived sunny and cold. The snow drifts outside our house are two feet high and look like frozen tsunamis about to hit our house.
I have been thinking a lot about those who journeyed two thousand years ago to what we now call "Christmas Day." Who would I have been? A curious shepherd? An earnest king? A conniving tyrant? Who do I relate the most to? A busy innkeeper? A young woman? A bewildered husband?
Let's walk to the manger. Those people are still with us, for in them, we see ourselves and our world.
Mary: Big news is only scary if you forget how big our God truly is. But if you know Him, and know that the wind and waves still obey Him, seas still part and bread from heaven still falls, then the news is simply an invitation to walk more deeply in Him.
Joseph: We don't always understand one another. We guess at others' motivations and secrets and this unknowing is disturbing. Solution? Listen to God. Seek to know His heart, His ways and His guidance. Then, what others is doing is less our focus; we pray and focus on more of what we should be doing. "Doing"is just another word for obedience. God loves a willing heart. Will we ever understand? Maybe, maybe not, but serving Him as He calls us should be our heart's desire.
The Shepherds: Are we willing to leave our livelihood and go seek out breathtaking news? Are we willing to trust God to watch over what we are doing, so we may go and seek out what He has called us to go and see? It's easy to believe in God sitting on a hillside, with our world contently munching the green grass all around us. It is quite another to leave what we know, and to seek out what we don't. It takes courage and curiosity. It takes faith to trust to leave what we know and seek something bigger. God cannot be contained. So neither should our faith.
The Innkeeper: Are we so busy that an obvious need is quickly dismissed? Yet, our God is a Champion of the second chance, the second glance. The innkeeper did both and so honored God by his reconsideration of the couple standing before him. Our first reaction to a need does not have to be the last reaction. We, too, can look again and respond with love this time. God has made a way; let's partner with Him and be part of it.
The Wise Men: "Seek and ye shall find." Sometimes that means searching with all your heart for truth, unafraid of where it may lead. Are we willing to search His Word with great diligence, and then act on what we now know? Do we then bow on bended knee in humble reverence when we find His truth? For truth is not an abstraction, but a Person. He says that He is the "Way, the Truth, the Life." The gifts we lay before Him are our heart, our soul, and our mind. Valuable beyond measure, He can build a kingdom with such gifts.
The Tyrant: Do we seek Jesus with smiles, while in our hearts we long to eliminate Him from our lives? Do we act like we care to serve Him, while the king of self cries for our sole allegiance? Do we ask lots of questions, appearing to be a sincere seeker of the truth, while we plot to overthrow the truth with our own version, one that, of course, makes us the king of our world? Do others sense our lack of sincerity, (despite our best efforts to look otherwise) and they slip away from us, leaving us surrounded by those who think and act just like we do?
The Baby: Is love such a powerful force in us that we are willing to leave the courts of heaven to enter the halls of hell? Are we willing to serve God with such devotion, that even when it scares us, we say, "God, Thy will be done."? Do we allow our God to so powerfully dwell in us, that when others are around us, they sense Him in what we say and do?
The Manger: We are wood. We are filled with hay. We are dirty and unkempt. But, will we allow this beautiful Baby to fill us? Do we hold Him with such love and reverence that we are lit up with His light? Whatever He touches becomes beautiful. His life in us is beautiful. He takes mangers and makes them into thrones. Are we willing to allow Him to transform us into His dwelling place?
Let us pray for this new year. Change is in the air, just as it was 2000 years ago. Let us walk in the light of His love, and let that love drive out all fear.
God bless you!