A Time of Preparation…
“Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.” –
Matthew 2:2 (RSV)
Debbie hosted her office Christmas party last week…the party was from 6:00 to 9:00ish but she has been preparing for it since August.
Seems like a long time for a three-hour party, doesn’t it?
But Debbie wanted the party to be special for each person in the office. So, she took time to choose a theme that was a treat for one of the young women in the office, to select a cake that was a favorite of another, to select the dinner rolls that a third had raved about and to prepare party favors, decorations and appetizers that all would enjoy. To make the three-hour party something that the staff would remember, Debbie spent three months preparing for it.
Most scholars agree that Jesus’ public ministry here on earth was no longer than three years. It is significant to note however that the Holy Spirit recorded for us Christ’s birth and early life. Jesus didn’t just appear out of nowhere to begin His ministry. God was careful to show that there were 30 years of preparation for Christ to complete this ministry; let alone what God and the Holy Spirit were doing in the world.
The magi must have wondered at the sight of this one that they had discerned was to be “the King of the Jews.” Instead of being born into a royal family and learning what it is to be waited upon and to rule, He was instead born into a simple family and learned what it was to work with a hammer and to serve the needs of other masters. Instead of learning the Wisdom of the demi-gods of the culture, he learned at the feet of his parents, his community and the commoner. Instead of learning of the needs of the kingdom, He learned of the needs of the people of the Kingdom.
God wanted to bless us and so took time to prepare His Son before allowing Him to begin His final, predetermined ministry. And this was not an accident but is common in the Biblical story of God’s interaction with our earthly world; God always takes time to prepare those who will be used in a special way! Moses is the case in point but there are plenty of others as well; Samuel, David, Esther, Mary, Paul and many others.
So, if God takes time to prepare for the great things done in this world, might God be doing the same today in the massive changes we are seeing in Christ’s church? Might God be preparing our nation for something great? Could God be preparing your church for something special? Maybe God is even preparing you for something you do not yet see on the horizon?
During my growing up years, our youth choir used to sing a song written by Bill and Gloria Gaither that reflects this idea.
I am a promise I am a possibility
I am a promise with a capital P
I am a great big bundle of potentiality
And I am learnin’ to hear God’s voice
And I am tryin’ to make the right choices
I’m a promise to be anything God wants me to be
In this season of preparation, remember that you have been given a promise for your life and that God is preparing you for the many possibilities to come.
Prayer: Lord, in this season of preparing to celebrate Christ’s birth, help us to feel the promise and possibilities that exist for our world, for our churches and most of all, for ourselves. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Steve Van Ostran