Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Open Up the Box!

Here's a thought. God sent Jesus to earth to show us His love. How did He do it? We are somewhat jaded these days with all the wonderful special effect movies that we get to experience regularly. So, imagining how God would send Jesus to earth seems a bit anti-climatic to many. Granted, you can say there was a light show....the Star of the East that guided the Magi and Shepherds. There was a wonderful soundtrack of a choir of Angels in Heaven, for those listening. But who would have written such a scandalous, humble story of a teenage girl getting pregnant before her marriage in a time when a very strict, orthodox Jewish family and fiance would normally ban her for such behavior. And we are to believe she was impregnated by God? Really? OK, that does have strong supernatural plot and may grab the interest of a few that's into those things these days. No vampires, but still not bad.

Can you agree that the story of Jesus' conception and birth is a bit "outside of the box"? Even in that day, King Herod was expecting the birth of our Savior, according to prophecy, but he, along with most, imagined the King of the Jews would arrive in a manner worthy of a king. Most writers would place him with a society girl for a mother, someone with connections, not a humble teenager. She would live in a nice abode, maybe even have servants to take care of her. Her parents would have a perfectly acceptable, and even enviable, story of why their daughter is about to give birth. I'm sure she got pregnant on her wedding night, I mean how much more romantic and perfect could that be? After all, we can't have all our friends talking behind our backs about any behavior that's not considered perfect, can we? And of course when the time came for His arrival, nothing but the best for our new little mother. Either a private room at the local hospital or, better yet, a house call to the manor by the premier ob-gyn of the region.

But that's not the story we got. We got a story that sounds more like an After School Special than something that should be in the Bible. An unwed teenager, shamed by those that did and didn't know her, having to travel in the ninth month, on a donkey no less, and there's a convention in town and not one room is available. We call it a manger, some will call it a cave. But anyway you spin it, it was the barn. Have you spent much time in a barn? They usually aren't the cleanest of places and the smell isn't of Lysol. The animals weren't freshly bathed or groomed, chances are there were bugs and mites everywhere. I mean, most girls I know wouldn't be caught dead in a barn like this for even a few minutes, much less giving birth there. And it was here that God guided those with presents fit for royalty and those with pure hearts. He hid His Son's birth from those like Herod because it didn't fit into His plans. He wrote a story that was, and is, unbelievable.

So, why do we keep Him in a box of our own believable outcomes for our own lives? And you know who's often the worst about doing this? Christians. We have become so boundary and rule-bound by denominational beliefs instead of God's beliefs. We read scripture and say, "See? That's what it says right there" to prove our points but we have often been so brainwashed into believing what others say it says. Are you considering the context of the story or what's being said prior and after the verse you are pointing to? Have you prayed for God's enlightenment on the Book He wrote? Does your belief go against any other commandment or belief? What you believe in one spot cannot work against a belief elsewhere in the Bible. And if it doesn't all basically boil down to love, then it's my opinion, you need to read it again. We all have problems in our lives and we may even pray about them, but we have preconceived ideas about a limited number of ways God can work something out. We are using our human brains and understanding. God's ways are not our ways. God's timing is not our timing. Our understanding is not God's. We may never understand the whys and wherefore's but we DO need to know that God's ways are BEST. Not good, not better, but BEST. And chances are, we never would have imagined how He would work it out. And just think of all the time we usually fret and worry about a situation and wait to see action of some nature. God's ways are often also unseen. They are solutions of the heart first. Save the gray hairs and stomach ulcers and put your trust in Him. This holiday season, take Him out of the box you've kept Him in and give Him permission to stretch and open up your beliefs while He stretches He works in your life. Have you ever wanted to be a writer? Hand Him the pen and see what kind of story He comes up for you and your loved ones.

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