Monday, 17 December 2012

Light of Christmas Pt. 8 {No Room for the Unexpected}

Continued from Part 7

“And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.  This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.   So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. 
Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.
So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.  And she brought forth her first-born Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”  Luke 2:1-7
One thing I’ve learned in my journey with the Lord:  being in His will generally means that things do not go as I would have expected or planned.  That’s the great thing about being in the Lord’s will – He’s in control, not me.
I can’t help but think of Mary and the circumstances surrounding the birth of her first-born child - the Son of God - and that things were maybe not going as she had expected.  I wonder what Mary and Joseph would have been thinking as this point.  They both knew, because of the appearance of Gabriel, the angel of the Lord, that this child just born was the long awaited Messiah.  The One Israel hasbeen waiting for, Immanuel, God-with-us, Jesus, who will save His people from their sins.
I can't help but wonder if Mary ever thought,'This is not making sense!  Is this the way it really should be?'.  The King, redeemer of Israel has just been born, and he was brought forth in a barn, and laid in a feeding trough in strips of cloth, because no one would make room for them at the local inn. 
A carpenter, a young servant virgin, and the long awaited Messiah, huddled in a stable; subtle enough for the whole world to miss it.
But God made sure the whole world didn’t miss it.  He made sure some heard and would come to see. He didn’t go to the high priests at the temple in Jerusalem; He didn’t go to the powerful religious group of the nation, the Pharisees; He didn’t go to the ruling king or the rich merchant.  He went to poor and humble shepherds for, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matt. 5:8)
“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around then, and they were greatly afraid.  Then the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign to you:  You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.’
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men!’ 
So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.’  And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger......
Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.”  Luke 2:8-16, 20
And so it was, a prophecy fulfilled, one dark but starry night in Bethlehem, not the way Israel was anticipating.  And because it wasn’t as expected, it was dismissed by all except a few humble, faithful hearts.
But isn’t that the way with God?  His thoughts are not our thoughts; His ways are not our ways.  “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts”, says the Lord.
And so, “the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.” (Is. 9:2)
Yet, the saddest words in all of the Bible, penned by the beloved disciple, proved true during the next days, months and years, while the Messiah walked with the people he came to save. 
“..the true Light which gives light to every man...He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.  He came to His own, and his own did not receive Him.”  
A beautiful promise follows these poignant words, a promise for those who would choose to see:
“But as many as received Him to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:9-13)

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