As I read the first chapters of Matthew and Luke, the ancient story becomes new again. I live in it, wondering about the details between the lines.
Were Mary and Joseph in love or was it strictly an arranged marriage? What was it like visiting Elizabeth and Zechariah? Did anyone in the community of Nazareth, any family member, believe the wild tale of an angel’s announcement and a virgin conception? Did a midwife attend Mary or was Joseph on his own? Was it a stable or a cave where Jesus was born? What was the reaction when a bunch of grubby shepherds showed up?
To fuel my imagination, I read Two From Galilee, by Marjorie Holmes, and I watched The Nativity on DVD, both of them making Biblical characters come alive to me, creating a story line that just might have had some truth to it.
Of one thing I can be fairly certain, the players in this extraordinary chain of events didn’t have any idea of their future. They got a teacup full of information for a tsunami narrative.
And with that I can identify.
Thinking of my life, I had no idea where the road would lead. In some ways, I’m glad. I might have hidden in the closet, refusing to move forward. God in His infinite wisdom does not give us much of a preview of how our lives will twist and turn, how we will be challenged to climb impossible mountains and travel deep, dark valleys, how joy and sorrow will intermingle.
However, He does say He will go with us. In fact, He offers to take the lead.
Christmas day draws near and we are a flurry of activity, making preparation for celebrations with family and friends. It is right that we should be joyful, for Christ the Lord is born to us. Let us sing, give gifts, enjoy choice food, and lavish love on those dear ones in our presence.
After Christmas, we look toward the new year, a time of reflection and goal setting. We really don’t know what is ahead, though we make lists and plan our actions. It is the Lord alone who guides our way.
Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track.
Proverbs 3:5-6, The Message
The year winds down, like the 31-day clock on the wall, and this I know for sure: I want to walk where Jesus goes, to know He is leading me, holding my hand. He says “Fear not,” even when the path looks very scary. He says “Take courage,” and I cling to Him for strength. He says “Follow,” and I draw near not seeing but one step ahead.
In the first chapters of Matthew and Luke, I read about the Creator of all who came to us as a helpless infant, God in flesh and bone, glory contained so the created can hold and behold.
His name is called Immanuel which is God with us. God with us.
God. With. Us.
Oh, come let us adore Him. He is Christ the Lord.