Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I remember an old country song that said, "Lookin' for love in all the wrong places" and it made me wonder: how many times do we totally miss God because we are expecting Him to show up in certain places? We structure our lives around the idea that there are certain places where God is to be safely confronted, while making other areas in our life "God-free-zones" (places we would prefer He not show, where we can do what we want, when we want). But God has a way of breaking free from the confines that we try to put on Him. He has a way of making His presence known in some of the most obscure locations. Take Bethlehem, for instance.

The Magi, or the Three Wise Men, were intelligent men who had been studying the ancient reports and prophesies concerning events that would happen in their world--most importantly, the birth of a new king in Israel. They had learned the timing of his birth would come at the same time as a bright star. When they saw the heavenly sight, they went first to Jerusalem, the city of kings, of course. When they got there, they were told the king wasn't there, but in Bethlehem, which had been designated by the prophets as to where the Messiah would be born. In many ways, Bethlehem was a small and insignificant town, yet it was the place God chose for the birthplace of His Son. Matthew 2:6 says, "And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; for our of you shall come forth a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel."

The prophet Micah had rebuked Israel, the people of God, for their rebellion. They had sunk to the lowest of low; their behavior was no better than the surrounding pagan nations. Micah confronts them in Micah 1:9 that they had been infected with the same sins that Samaria had been known for. But in the midst of this dismal setting, we are given this hope; for it is right here that God promises to raise up a King to shepherd His oppressed people.

I believe God purposefully chose Bethlehem for it's misery because it was the best place for God's glory to shine! In I Corinthians 1, Paul writes "but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, the weak things to shame the strong. The base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen...the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are." God chose to break out of the box, to reveal Himself where He wouldn't be expected.

Where in your life would you be most surprised for God to show Himself? A job loss...a spouse's layoff...among the conversation with your friends....as you pass a homeless man on the street corner...or maybe the cashier at the local store? God will not be confined and He is not predictable, but He is faithful. Therefore, we need to look for Him and make room for Him in all areas of our lives and at all times.

1 comment:

Sara said...

Merry Christmas to you and your family! May you have a wonderful day celebrating the birth of Christ!