Today, Christmas arrived for another year, and I request that we all take a few moments to hit pause and reenact a Zack Morris soliloquy for ourselves. With Christmas 2016 winding down you may find yourself knee deep in unwrapped presents, laughing with family or hiding in a corner with a book because you met your quota for time with other people long ago. But no matter where you find yourself, this evening let’s pause to reflect and remember the why of where we find ourselves.
Now, I hope I am not the first person to remind you that the meaning of Christmas centers on Jesus not presents. But if so, click here to read more Luke 2:1-20. The awe of the birth of Christ strikes me as something only God can do. A baby born in a manger paints a quiet, still, and steadfast love. While the importance of the birth of Jesus does not slip by me unnoticed, that’s not the part of the story I find myself reflecting on tonight.
I cannot shake how so many of the main players of this incredible story of Jesus coming to earth felt and how it parallels my emotions and season of life, though on a much smaller scale. Think about how many questions Mary and Joseph, asked or wanted to ask God about the unfurling of a virgin birth, traveling to Bethlehem pregnant, not having a place to stay, going into labor and giving birth in a stable with animals, and oh so much more. I, not in any of these scenarios, already asked God all of these questions about their story some two thousand years later. Sometimes I imagine God responding to me and my curiosity with a tired yet loving head shake as he sighs and prepares for my barrage of questions and comments to continue. But, back to the point.
All of these questions I assume Mary and Joseph wondered about, God took care of. The King of Kings grand entrance lacked the grandeur we assumed should encompass such an event. The story evolves in a way only God can pen. But, I bet Mary and Joseph found themselves waiting for a lot of answers. And I bet the answers they ended up with did not look like they thought they should.
Wandering from inn to inn looking for a place to stay with a pregnant wife about to go into labor or in labor does not sound like a walk in the park. I wonder if Mary got short with Joseph and God. Do you think she questioned why on earth they could not find somewhere to rest their head if she carried the Lord of Lords in her womb? I know I would.
But this happens to all of us, though maybe not on the same scale. In the waiting we wonder. We wonder about outcomes and devise action steps. We create a plan A, B, C, and D. We try to push the plan along when it takes too long or does not conform to our time table. We (I) seem to do everything but wait. But what if we waited? What if we just attached ourselves to God and waited? He can write a great story. Check His track record.
Waiting builds the anticipation and excitement. It creates longing and deep investment. If we (I) learn to wait with Christ, He will deliver. Hear this point: it may not look like we thought it should, but it will taste so much sweeter than we could ever imagine. Serving God is not outcomes based. We do not check boxes to get something. We serve The Prince of Peace because of His unfailing unending unimaginable great love for us. We do not serve Him to attain things. He wants to walk with us wherever we find ourselves. We get to serve Him.
Some seasons and circumstances call for action. But what if our (my) first response did not entail mapping and plotting an escape strategy. What if instead I just sat and waited. The waiting can feel lonely, but know that you’re not waiting on God, you wait with Him. He pulls up a chair next to us as we sit in the unknown to wait with us. He draws us close to Him. He uses that time to push and challenge you in Him. In His time and in His way, He will author a story with the quiet beauty and awe inspiring grace He used at the birth of Jesus. And His story, His story pales in comparison to what we can scheme up. So my dear friends, I pray we each learn to wait with Jesus just a little bit longer before we jump in and try to force His hand. Because, forcing His hand, it never works.