Thursday, December 18, 2008

christmas wasn't warm or fuzzy

I was reading the account of Christ's birth today and I realized something -- the birth of Christ wasn't glamorous, cozy, or hyped up. It was surrounded by humble and even shocking circumstances.

Mary and Joseph were homeless, in the open air, or perhaps in a cave with animals. Mary was uncomfortably pregnant, surrounded with animal dung, dusty air from the straw and hay, and not even married to the man she was with. No inn would have them -- perhaps because they were unmarried. They were not accepted by the community because of their circumstances. Jesus was born and placed in a feeding trough. Though the nativity scene has been made charming in little sets for our mantles, it wasn't charming. Jesus was brought into the world in a place that was as humble as you can get. It wasn't something that would have stood out to someone -- they would have passed by and not taken a second glance. Shepherds, the outcasts of society, were the first to hear the news. They told everyone they saw, but who really paid attention to what they said? We read this story and it means something to us, but only because now we have seen the whole picture. We read Luke 2 and get warm fuzzies -- but it wasn't warm, and it wasn't something that made a whole lot of sense to anyone back then. It was something that stirred some peoples hearts and they began to see that this was the Messiah, but few people realized it, and no one truly understood what was going to take place in the coming years.

All of these thoughts and more make me realize that as I stand at the end of 2008, with the mundanity of life around me, with no big picture of what world events will mean in the coming years, that this is how God works. He doesn't come and give us a full picture of what he's doing, he doen'st usually work in big and powerful and mindblowing ways. That will happen, one day, when everyone sees who Jesus Christ is -- but not yet. In the little activities of life, God works. His plan is unfolding -- unseen for the most part, but it is unfolding. And maybe one day, when I look back at life, I will see how my actions built part of the kingdom of God.

So we come back to faith -- faith in a God who is working, and who has worked His plan in this world. That baby who was born and put in a feeding trough, never really climbed any higher in the corporate ladder. He died a gruesome death, mocked to his dying breath. But in those events God brought salvation to His people and hope for this groaning and dying world.

God is working. I'm excited.

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