This December people across the world are setting up idyllic manger scenes on pianos and below Christmas trees. Marys and Josephs bend down toward the perfect looking child while well groomed animals, shepherds and angels peer upon the holy family. Every Creche upon this globe promotes a serenity and peacefulness that rises above the chaos of our world. Everyone loves Christmas right?
Yet the actual events were not so smooth. Don’t kid yourself! The world did not want this baby. Joseph did not originally want this baby. Mary had not planned on this baby. Herod was shocked to hear that this baby was born! All of Jerusalem pulled their hair and tore their shirts when they heard such a baby might be among them. Jesus was for certain quite an interruption!
While the exaggerated story of Hotel managers turning away Jesus is untrue, nevertheless Jesus birth caused discomfort for all as Mary was forced to give birth in a crowded home and placed him in a manger because there was no more space. And I am certain the other guests were not too happy with a crying child keeping them up at night.
So let us not celebrate the birth of Christ as if we expected him all along. Do not place Him comfortably in your life, as if He has a normal space like all the other things you collect, like all the other decorations for the seasons. When Christmas concludes, we will discard him in the bin next to the gourds for Thanksgiving, the fireworks for 4th of July and so on. But He doesn’t want a space in your house. He comes to take over your life!
A couple of years ago my wife and I were surprised by our third son. We had given up on having more kids for some time. We had our plans laid out. We were finally going to get ahead paying off some debt. She was going to go to school and so was I. We were quite settled. So when my wife announced her pregnancy it turned our whole world upside down. Suddenly our whole life revolved around one little life!
How much more with Jesus. We want Christmas to be a nice little break from our day to day, only to go back to our day to day in January. Then we can put our little Jesus away with all the angels, stars, marys and Josephs. We want to stare at the little manger scene and imagine. We don’t want to hear what the Christ child has to say. We don’t want to follow him from the cradle to the cross, to the grave, to the right hand of God, to our miserable lives.
Yet Jesus did not come to fit comfortably in our narrative. He came to flip it around! He came to disrupt! He came to place you in His story! And that can actually be a little uncomfortable to say the least.
Herod wanted Jesus dead because there can only be one king. So the pharisees and chief priests would later agree and do the evil deed. They killed Him because He made them feel bad about themselves. Don’t be so smug. You want Him dead sometimes too. You would have Mary abort. You might not be king of much, but it’s something. At best we want to share the Kingship. We will repent of stuff that is easy to repent of. Other things we will hold out till its forced from us. Jesus, you stay over there in the manger, in a cage. Let me reign.
What a mess we have made
No one asked for Him. But He came. No one asked Him. But He died for our sins. No one came to greet His resurrection. Yet He rose. And don’t fool yourself. You didn’t ask Him to be your savior. Yet He CAME! Quite unplanned, unexpected and unwanted. Yet He came gently through water and blood in love and mercy. And though we fight it, He continues to advent with us, slowly loving us to death and loving us to life.
While we did not plan Him, want Him, expect Him. He planned for YOU. He wanted YOU.
Come Lord Jesus. Merry Christmas