A PROMISE KEPT
"In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to 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, who was with child.And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn."
A CUTE STORY?
In our living room we have a 'Little People' nativity set that my daughter received from her Grandma for Christmas one year.
Each year around this time we pull it out and put it where she and her friends can play with it.
It's a beloved toy. The characters are smiling and all pleasantly plump, they look satisfied and happy to be in a barn. They seem put together, excited, cute even.
But the story of Christ's birth isn't a cute story.
It isn't meant to be.
It's a story of scared young newlyweds, incredible faith, poverty, doubt, fear, feeling abandoned and lost, unexpected pregnancies, and gut-wrenching trust.
I'm guessing there weren't many people who expected Christ to enter the world this way.
But He did.
When God keeps His promises, they often aren't as we expect them to be. They are usually outside of the nice, neat, container we want to put them into.
God see what we don't see. He knows what we don't know. He loves to work in unexpected ways.
Sometimes God answers His promises in ways that cause us pain, but it usually hurts because we'd rather hold tightly to something less wonderful than to hold tightly to Him.
Sometimes God answers His promises in ways that make us feel lost, but that's only because we were walking in the wrong direction to begin with.
Sometimes God answers His promises in the middle of our everyday, messy, lives, just to remind us that He's there with us in the middle of those messy, everyday, lives.
He comes to meet us where we are.
WHERE WE ARE
That's exactly what Jesus did with two young, scared, newlyweds, who were poor and desperate, in the middle of a smelly barn.
That's exactly what Jesus did to a people who had abandoned their God and started chasing after other things.
He met them where they were.
God delivered on His promise of rescue by sending a Savior who would enter in to our pain and our struggle so that He could be a rescuer who knew everything about the people He was rescuing and so He could show us that His love for us is stronger than the biggest mess we are in.
This Advent season, remember that Christ enters in with us. We have a savior who is not far, but near.
He doesn't prefer cute situations and His coming was quite a bit more scandalous than we like to think about.
Christ was sent to make our dead hearts alive.
There's nothing cute about that, but there is something wonderful about it...
God will keep His promises.