Do you ever wonder why we struggle so much in saying an unqualified “Yes!” to God? Since we were created by God and for God, why is it so difficult to let go of our plans for our own storyline to join God’s?
Are we afraid we won’t fit? We’ll look stupid?
It’ll cost too much?
It’s not as good as what we have in mind?
Yes. Yes. Yes. And probably, yes.
Sometimes I read Bible stories and forget I am reading moments, snapshots if you will, of real people living real life in real time and real places. Their lives didn’t fast forward to the next chapter, but were lived day after day. Sometimes, I sit and wonder what it was like to live the life I’m reading about; what happened between the lines and what this person had to deal with.
During this past Christmas Season, I was asked to write two short narratives about Joseph and Mary and the wise men. How did these normal, busy-with-their-lives people respond to the intersection of God and man? It made me wonder about them as people. Hopefully, it’ll give you something to think about: reason to slow down and see something new God’s story….
Joseph and Mary…
Simple people from a simple community—rather like you and me.
Going about their lives the best they knew how.
Doing things the right way was important—especially for Joseph.
Engaged. Making plans for the future.
He had a lot to do before he could get married.
Get his business a little more established…build a decent house.
Then, life could really start.
Both were chosen, without knowing, for key roles in God’s story.
Something neither had ever thought about—couldn’t have come up with if they’d tried;
Mary was the first to veer off course—to say ‘yes’ to God’s story. It didn’t make sense when you talked about it, but it made total sense when God said it.
Beyond saying ‘yes’ to God, there wasn’t really much for her to do.
Except to see Elizabeth. She had to see Elizabeth. Amazing! God giving her a baby at her age! Who knew!
Maybe Elizabeth could help her understand what was happening.
She certainly didn’t know anyone who’d ever done this before!
Joseph. Mary’s choice just made him mad.
And embarrassed. Frustrated.
The only thing he knew was he couldn’t go on with what they’d planned. Afraid. For himself. For Mary. …for this baby!
Marriage was out of the question. The best he could do was try to manage the fall out—get them out with the least amount of damage possible. Maybe he could start over in another town.
…the Holy Spirit…a son…the son of God…
It was impossible to try to figure out what Mary was talking about…
much less, thinking.
Joseph was the second to abandon his story for God’s and I love how he did it.
He had a much more difficult role than Mary Nothing made sense.
Don’t be afraid… from the Holy Spirit…
Don’t hesitate to take Mary as your wife…
Save His people… Name him Jesus…
He’d never heard of what God was asking, but He knew it was God who was asking. … to let go of his reputation. let God manage the fall out—
…to let God provide. To do things His way. …Now. …for the rest of their lives
I love how Joseph obeyed: he woke up and did exactly what the angel commanded.
He gave Mary his name, took her child as his own and entered God’s story with everything he had—
and found out he’d been created for this.
His role in this story fit him perfectly.
The Magi’s story began at work:
A few guys. Passionate. Devoted to truth; on the cutting edge of science.
Challenging each other,
to deeper understanding, and distinguishing between important and non.
“Whoa! Look at that! Where did that come from?”
“It came out of nowhere.”
They checked. Double-checked. Quadruple-checked.
Couldn’t sleep at night, couldn’t talk about anything else…
The significance of this seemed staggering!!!
Gradually, God’s story overtook their own. It was fascinating.
Things came alive in them they’d never experienced before.
Somehow they understood that
the heavens were declaring something of utmost importance on earth. What? They needed more.
The star, or whatever it was, seemed to be moving.
No one could remember who was the first to suggest they follow it.
The idea was ridiculous…and then it wasn’t. After a while, it seemed
like the only thing they could do, like the star itself was inviting them to follow.
So they left. Their own stories faded into God’s.
Weeks followed. Finally, the star seemed to settle right over Israel—
Jewish territory. Hmmm.
Maybe a new jewish king?
Countries had new kings all the time; why was this so momentous?
Must be some extraordinary king! Heaven sent.
“What’s the king’s city in Israel?”
“Ah, yes, Jerusalem. We’ll find him in Jerusalem.“
And so they inquired. Odd that no one seemed to know. Their inquiries actually seemed to cause anxiety. …and far more curious looks then they usually drew.
This was an unusual country, but still, they expected everyone to be celebrating this birth!!!
Couldn’t these people hear heaven’s voice? Didn’t they know the significance of here? and now?
“Ah…some interest, at least…in Herod.”
Bethlehem. Their history pointed there. “Six miles, you say?” They could be there today!
It’s moved. I’d swear it’s hovering right there.
And then, they knew. Everything in them crystallized to this moment, this place, this child. It wasn’t any of the scenarios they’d discussed. In fact, none of this was what they could have planned.
But it was right. More than right. In fact, somehow it was pivotal for the remainder of their lives.
In this place where they stuck out like aliens, they felt more at home than they’d ever felt. They belonged here. Gazing at this child, life began anew.
Gifts: Giving them was a little awkward. They felt so out of place with the setting.
Gold. Frankincense. Myrrh. Hopefully, the young couple could use them.
And through them, Heaven declared the little one
All God, All human: King, Holy Priest, Savior….
Here at the intersection of God’s story with man’s was the rescue of mankind and the entry point to heaven.