Today, I begin a short series of reflections on Christmas, probing for fresh meaning behind the way God sent Jesus. I will write each day until that wondrous day arrives, of celebrating His birth.
The event was His well-orchestrated plan, as to the people, and situations and challenges of those days. But it was not robotic. The responses of the people were uniquely theirs. Or not.
How incredible to think that Jesus was born rather close in proximity to lots of people who never even knew it had happened...or what this planetary invasion was all about.
Christmas is a profound, timeless revelation of God: how He works, and what our responses to His innitiatives can be. So join me in reflection and response, and may it be for each of us in this final week of Christmas...Immanuel...God with us. (Matthew 1:23)
Background readings: Luke 1, Matthew 1
I am struck from the start by the primary people that God chooses to use in bringing Himself onto this earth. Not the proven, protected, attractive, wealthy, bright, networked kind of people, but the young, the risk-takers, the strugglers, the internal processors, the dependent, the awkward, but, the "yes" speakers, with not a clear understanding of what that "yes" might fully mean.
Mary, a teenager, lots of questions, unmarried and yet pregnant, called to bear a once-only-in-the-history-of mankind child, uncertain of almost everything. But focused on God, interactive when she senses His presence, and willing for whatever is clearly His doing and will. Available, with no "ifs."
Joseph, unfit for the ministry, quiet, a worker with hands, rather than ideas and words and people....ready "to get married to a nice young woman, settle down, raise a family, and live a good life"...and then God, seeing that his match with Mary is perfect - they are both "yes" people - calls him to a costly, risky, sexually suspending, life-threatening obedience, (and an early death).
Against all odds of person, their "yes" hearts brought them to the front of the line in God's choosing. Your "yes" heart will do that for you too.
May their lives and responses be to us a strong reminder. It is that response that God values very highly.
And so a prayer:
My Father in heaven, I want to be continually one who brings forth Your plan and purpose. I easily say "later - well, I'll pray about that - well, I just don't know, I think someone else could do it - don't think I qualify too well."
But in these days may the deepest place of my soul be echoing with "yes." "Yes" to whatever you call me to do. No holding back...just "yes." And may You come - Immanuel - on the breezes of "yes" inside of me. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Tomorrow: reflection 2 - Angels.