Many of us know the Christmas story like the back of our hand. We may have become so close to it through attending Christmas Eve services throughout the years, reading it every Christmas Eve in our homes amongst family or through the wonder of books or stories relayed through others. There are things that begin to jump out at us about this amazing story of our Savior's birth as we read and embrace it through different walks of life.
I feel that as I read the passages in my bible that laid out Christ's birth, I again remembered all that has stood out to me about this beautiful story but also gathered something new yet so simple from it. It has always amazed me that the Great I Am, the Prince of Peace, and Savior of the World who could have came into this world with greatly deserved pomp and circumstance was sent into this dark world in the form of the most fragile, soft and innocent form of life... a baby. This I believe depicts the gentle and sinless life that was to encompass Jesus' character. He didn't come in a ornate beautiful palace but a lowly dirty manger surrounded by cattle and hay. Imagine telling a hormonal pregnant woman now-a-days that there is simply no room in the clean and safe hospital room to welcome your baby into this world but the farm near by has a cozy little area in their barn that will just have to do. Could you imagine? If you look up the definition of manger, it literally says a manger is "a box or trough in a stable or barn in which horses or cattle eat." (www.dictionary.com) Again, could you imagine? God knew what He was doing as He began to lay out the story of the birth of Christ to teach us some life lessons. Also, he took the most unassuming of people, Mary. Mary was a poor, young Jewish girl that may have been looked at by some as unsuitable to be used by God. But God intended just the opposite for Mary. He knew her heart and He knew that He could trust her to spend Her existence serving Him. When Gabriel approached Mary, she was just in her teen years and was looking forward to marriage. Could you imagine her fear when the angel told her that although she was a virgin, she would carry the Son of God and that she would have to potentially face the consequence (for that time) of being an unwed mother? The consequences: disgraced by the community she loves and knows, being stoned to death, being divorced from the man that she loved. Yet this point I am about to talk about is what I have really dwelt on this evening and the one that stood out to me very clear... Mary may have not delved in that deep as to what her future pain could be or imagined what her Son's future would hold but she submitted to God's plan for her life and obeyed His calling. Has God every asked you to do something you never expected to do? Has He every faced you with a trial that seemed more than you could handle? Mary is such an amazing example of cooperating with God's plans or purpose even if you wonder how you will ever face what He is asking you to face. Like I said, it is a point that may have been reached by some when reading the story but I really embraced that incredibly simple message this Christmas Eve. Taking it a step further, God calls you and me, just ordinary people, just as He called Mary to submit to His plan but He also gave Mary (and gives us) the faith to carry it out. Through that precious baby many years ago, our King, laying in a manger we received that very gift of faith. How awesome? What a great testament for the Author and Finisher of our faith to implement so that we may understand Him better?
Since our move, God has really blessed Jon and I and has tirelessly worked at our hearts to show us His will for our lives. At times we've been confused. At times we've hurt. At times we have rejoiced. The good Lord only knows that I have cried out of frustration when the desires of my heart say one thing and He says another. I think that is why this message came through that familiar old story tonight. I've seen God take my unassuming self and do some big things, as I know many of you have. And again, He calls me to just submit to His plan, even if the logistics are not clear yet! As the new year approaches, a lot of people will face uncertainty, unfamiliar territories or self doubt. But God provides us such a beautiful message that He will take us in HIS will and provide us all that we need to see His task at hand through. And even though, He came as that fragile and small baby boy in the lowliest of places, His birth alone attests that we serve and praise such a mighty and powerful God.
That is the little piece of my heart for now. I want to wish all of you guys a Merry Christmas. I encouraged you to read the Christmas story again for yourself and every year not only as a reminder of the reason for the season, but to focus on God and hear His voice speak to you in the way that only He knows how and to reveal His plan for your life.
Live. Laugh. Use that faith.