You know, the more I live, the more simplistic my prayers become as I realize I don't know how to interpret life correctly. I only can do my best to present what I know before God and trust that He will follow through as He knows best.
It's easy to think we know how prayers should be responded to, but if you look at the Christmas story, it was nothing like Israel expected. When they heard the Messiah was coming, they were expecting a king and a kingdom, not a baby and a manger. The answer Israel had been looking for came in a way they never expected.
In addition to that, Jesus came in the humblest circumstances possible. He was born in a stable and visited by the shepherds, some of the lowliest people at that time. Think about Mary's pregnancy... it had a cloud of shame over it as people all around watched an unwed mother go through pregnancy--intensely frowned upon at that time.
What people didn't know was that God was working a miracle in the middle of what they saw as shame.
I wonder how often God is answering prayers right before our eyes without us realizing it. Two thousand years later, we look at Christmas and we have the benefit of hindsight (hindsight is 20/20!). We can see the full truth. In fact, we even take the Christmas story for granted.
The fact of the matter is... Jesus has been, is, and always will be. He is eternal. He is God. Yet He came to earth in the form of a baby. It's incomprehensible that God came and became human to save us from eternal damnation.
I know, it might not sound as revelatory on paper (okay, the computer screen) to you as it is to me, but maybe it will spark a few new thoughts for you. :) Today,
I'm pondering the wonder and the glory of God that is revealed through that act of sending Jesus to earth. Jesus became human. Erik and I are reading a book right now that talks about Jesus and says that He is the glory of God, and I think, the Christmas story really is the embodiment of that phrase. Jesus' coming to earth really is the way that God has shown us His glory. True, the earth and creation declares the glory of God (Psalm 19:1), and really, God could have stopped there and only allowed His glory to be seen through that, but He didn't. He chose to show us His glory by giving us Himself, both in Jesus and in the eternal life we can have with Him when we accept Him into our lives.
All of these ponderings really make me grateful for my salvation. God didn't have to save me. He didn't have to send Jesus. He didn't even have to make me. But He did. He chose me. He chose to provide me with salvation. He didn't have to, but He did because He is pure love. He radiates love for you and me. He is love.
Plans don't always go as expected here on earth; the Christmas story really is a bunch of unexpected turns of events tied together to make the most beautiful story of all time.
God is the Master Planner, and even when we can't see His plan being revealed, even when hurt or shame surrounds us, He is there working. Try to imagine experiencing a God-given pregnancy before marriage, the lowliest of people (shepherds) having visions, Mary and Joseph experiencing death threats on their baby, the mass destruction of a generation (all babies under 2). Nothing of that sounds good. So many conditions of this story don't line up with what we call the picture of a good God... but it is again the most beautiful story tied together by the Master Planner and set in the middle of a world filled with evil.
Wow. I could ramble on and on about this, but instead I'll end with two things... First, I don't know who all reads my blog. I assume it's mostly my friends and family, but in case there's someone who reads this who doesn't yet know about God, you have one of the greatest opportunities ahead of you: the opportunity to accept God into your life. I could lay out what I believe here, but you can also call 1-888-NEED-HIM or visit www.needhim.org. I know they can help you get where you need to be.
Secondly, it's Christmas tomorrow and Christmas Eve today. Whatever you are doing, go ahead and take a moment to think through your idea of the awesomeness of God. What's your favorite puzzling moment of the Christmas story that just makes your head tilt and think, God really is amazing? I'll be thinking about that today too.
I didn't plan to go rambling on like this, but it's helped me a lot this morning as I head into a Christmas that Erik and I really hadn't prepared a lot for because of all that we've been through physically and emotionally. It will be a good weekend because we're celebrating our Lord.
I hope you have a wonderful time celebrating Christmas. :-)