17 December, 2014

How Can This Be?

(Crosspost from adventagain.blogspot.com)
Last week I did some Christmas shopping.  The store was fully decorated and Christmas music
played.  The store was not too crowded but certainly full enough!  I passed people and noticed their carts were full like mine.  As I went to checkout I had a bit of a wait.  Surprisingly, I was waiting patiently and then begin to notice the decor and commercial, retail world of Christmas.  At checkout my clerk had to leave for a few minutes and I had the opportunity to grow impatient when I noticed a very ornate, broken set of two-foot tall figurines...Mary and Joseph stood with a slight tilt.  They were gold and red and shining.  As I stood there with Sarah, my daughter, I asked aloud, "Do you think this is what He had in mind?".  How can this be?

When Nicodemus was having his conversation with Jesus he asked the question,
“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? John 2:9-12
Again this Christmas season I find myself similar to Nicodemus in some ways.  I am a North American Christ-follower who has learned lessons from the Bible through the teaching of many men and women.  I believe.  I have some knowledge but it's the seeking Jesus in these days of Advent that foil me!  The shops are stocked to overflowing with aisles and aisles of choices. Have you seen the pictures of the Amazon.com warehouses loaded for us Christmas shoppers?  I am hurrying about, running errands, adding a bow, buying that one last gift - repeatedly!  It's too much christmas.  How can this be? From Jesus words I interpret: ' You are a Christ-follower and do you not understand these these things?'

Like Nicodemus, it's in the night when I slow down that I find I come to Him... late in the day and secretly...just me and Him.  He's offered me the Truth and knowledge and guidance and testimony of His life and death and my reborn opportunity.  And yet by my actions I ask over and over, "how can this be?"  How can you truly be the God of the Universe and the God of me?  My brain cannot understand this fully and my actions get consumed in the day-to-day requirements of this life.  And as He spoke words to Nicodemus in full understanding, He too understands me...and you.

The tilted and broken Mary figurine I saw in the store reminded me of her story so I went to reread it in Luke 1.  And lo and behold what I found,
The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God....For no word from God will ever fail.”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Luke 1:28-35, 37-38
Mary too asked the question, how will this be?  I am thankful today that this Christmas we have the freedom to ask God, "how can it be"?  We see overblown wrappings of commercial christmas and wonder, how can it be? We also see the manger, we sing the songs, we hear the Christmas story...how can You have come to us, how can it be?

I pray the end of Luke 1 on your life and my life today:
Come Holy Spirit by the power of the Most High and overshadow me.  Overshadow the trappings of this Christmas season and the falseness of retail christmas.  Overshadow those who offend me and those I offend.  Overshadow my little world with your great Truth so that the Holy One will be re born in me today.  For Father, your Word will never fail.  Instead of wondering, how can it be, let me shout in my spirit today, "I am the Lord's servant...may your Word be fulfilled in me today.
Amen and Amen

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