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Pastor & Mrs Anita’s Birthday Celebration
We had such a wonderful day today. Tonight’s service was great – we had special singing and great testimonies! And then we had a celebration in honor of Pastor & Mrs. Anita’s birthdays. Homemade ice cream, birthday cake, and then kickball!
Each year, we struggle to make sense of Christmas. To “do it right” – that is to say, to ensure its real and authentic. As opposed to superficial and commercialized. And, for Christians who see that the world around us does not necessarily share our beliefs, we feel a burden to ensure we don’t get pulled away from the true meaning and we struggle to show others that there is indeed a real truth to be told.
Sometimes, the meaning of Christmas is too big. There’s so much at stake for us to experience what it means, share it, and ensure we focus on the real meaning. Looking back at the bible, I realized this year that while it’s neatly packaged up in Luke 2, the reality is that for Joseph, Mary, and the others who actually were there, who actually LIVED through these events, it must have been a very different experience that anything we strive to have each year.
To boil it down to the most basic parts, Micah 5:2, Isaiah 7:14, 9:7, and Daniel 9:25 all had to occur. Now, if you read the events in Matthew 1:16-20 and Luke 1 and 2, and consider how they were experienced, it almost seems like a miracle that all these things could have happened. For the Messiah to come, we needed Mary and Joseph, in the right place, at the right time.
It starts off promising, Mary and Joseph to be married (we have the right people), but they are in the wrong place. Young Mary then is told something that no one could properly understand – she was going to give birth to the Messiah. How could she even process something so miraculous? Then, Mary goes goes to vista Elisabeth – for 3 months! When she returns, she is pregnant – how would Joseph understand? Can you imagine how scared she was? And Joseph, the good man whose heart must have been broken – what else is he supposed to think other than the love of his life had betrayed him? How was God going pull all this mess back together into the plan we know so well? But God does – He tells Joseph the plan, and Joseph, being the good man he was, followed God. Of course, Mary and Joseph are still not in the right place (Bethlehem) – but God takes care of that too by orchestrating a census and taxing through the occupying Roman government. Then, on the night that marked the fullness of times, God sends the announcement to shepherds that His Son is born. Of all the ways to get the message out to the world, He chooses the lowly shepherd to be the first ones to tell the world that the Messiah is come!
Can you imagine having these prophecies in your hand, and watching these events unfold? Knowing what was supposed to happen, where it was supposed to happen, when it was supposed to happen. How you assume it be neat and tidy, but what you saw seemed more like chaos? God works, not how we expect, but His plan is perfect. Anyone watching these events would have likely been scared and confused and perhaps even doubting. So this Christmas, maybe looking at the events of the birth of Jesus as if we lived through them as Joseph and Mary did, we can remember that God is in control, even if we don’t think so, even if all we see and hear tells us differently, God is in control.
Thank you God for being more than we can understand! Thank you God for sending us Your Son – Jesus our Immanuel!