By Janice Newman
“And this shall be sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12
A perk of childhood is the ability to pretend. It’s not only OK, but it’s seen as actually being cute. I pretended I was a mommy, a teacher, a bride, a princess, a performer…the list could go on. I’ve spent many a time imagining the excitement of another life, all filled with amazing possibilities. Maybe the princess was a little far-fetched, but when you’re young anything is possible. Why do we pretend? What makes us step out of our life situation into another story, even if just for a short time? Pretending is fun. Pretending is full of otherwise unthinkable possibilities. I did become a mommy, enjoying every minute of it and now I am a nana, delighting in all that holds.
The Old Testament revealed to humanity that all things are possible in God. A shepherd boy, the youngest unassuming son became King David; Joseph, the youngest and despised brother was chosen to become Vizier, the second most powerful man in Egypt next to the Pharaoh; Esther, a young girl of the Jewish faith became a queen. God continued this same demonstration in the New Testament as “the least of these” became followers, disciples and apostles. The most startling being God’s promise of the Messiah fulfilled in the baby Jesus. Who would have thought?
The baby Jesus in the manger is the center focus of the nativity scene. A baby and yet God, living and growing among us. The older I get, the understanding of what that means for us as people grows deeper and larger. Each year provides a stronger connection with the realization that God, Himself, demonstrated His unpredictable ways; the weak are made strong, the last are first; power to the humble and meek; the act of letting go in order to receive. God living an ordinary life with all the difficulties and hardships of a carpenter’s family. Totally an unforeseen scenario for a Messiah.
We ponder each Christmas, what does this mean for me? It means there’s no predicting what God will do. For me, it means God’s plans for me are just as mysterious and awesome as God’s Son, King of kings and Lord of lords as a babe in a manger. It means with God all things are imaginable no matter how improbable it seems. It means experiencing every day to the fullest what God is offering – in whatever circumstance we find ourselves. It means loving each person we come in contact with as Jesus, the babe in the manger, loves. No matter how insignificant or important; no matter how old or young; no matter how poor or rich; no matter how educated or uneducated; no matter how shy or “out there” you feel you are, God is the Master of the unexpected, impossible, improbable, impractical… Advent promises we will find the unrealized, wrapped in astonishing possibilities, lying in unsuspecting places this Christmas and beyond as we wait and watch in hopeful anticipation.
Prayer: Father, thank you for all this Advent season holds. Thank you for wrapping us in your unending love and for every opportunity to share your love in this world. Amen
Grand Junction, CO