Tis The Week Before Christmas
Tis the week before Christmas and all through the house everything was so quiet, we knew the power was out. We leap from the bed and rushed out in the snow to see what had happened to the generator we know.
Head lamp and flashlight gave a bright cheery glow to the dark outside night sky and the large flaking snow. We checked the fuel and the oil chambers, and all seemed okay, but the stillness continued as the motor won’t go.
We pulled the cord on the spare and it fired right up and in less than a minute we are lit right back up. At 3 in the morning, back in the house we pulled out the manual to give it a peek, then deciding that morning is better than now, we crawled back into bed, closed our eyes and found sleep.
Yes, that was last night – just another night of adventure living here on the property. We have to have plans and back up plans since we are functioning off grid by generator. You will not survive long without some kind of power and heat at least not here in the north.
An event planner is a detailed person, everything has to be put onto a list, down to the smallest detail ie: napkins, toothpicks, then there is the acquiring stage: go find it or buy it, followed by set up and the event and then clean up. It is painstaking work and if you miss a detail, come event day you will have to improvise or work out a Plan B. I should know, I was an event planner for a number of years. Hard work, and so many details, it is a high stress job where you wing it when you encounter a problem and either find a solution or loose the event. It was always thinking on your feet, I learned there are many Plan B’s.
Something I heard this week from Dutch Sheets stuck with me. He said that before Jesus was born into the little manger in Bethlehem, God had to pre plan.
As an event planner this struck a cord in me: God did not have a Plan B. What Dutch meant is that from the wise men, to the shepherds to Mary’s cousin Elizabeth and indeed Mary and Joseph – God had to pre plan their births, their villages, their jobs, their families all ahead of time so that all the players He needed to herald in baby Jesus were in place when Jesus was born. God is a God of details.
The Old Testament has many prophecies (foretelling’s) of where, and how the Saviour of the world would come and come He did. But even though the Bible told of the where, the hows - many, many people missed it. Many were looking for how “they” thought a king should come into the world. Many had interpreted the scriptures wrong and were looking in the wrong direction or at the wrong thing.
But God. But God had another plan, His plan. God the Father sent His Son, Jesus into the world to save the world. 1 John 4:9-10
The Jewish people had heard these scriptures, these promises from God and yet they missed the event. The hugest thing since creation – the coming of God Himself down from heaven to earth to walk amongst His people. What a story! What a concept! It is inconceivable.
And yet, that is exactly what happened. Only a few got it and yes, even today only some get it. Some working men albeit shepherds hanging out with their sheep in a field got it. The wise men got it from far, far away – they knew all about this baby King.
Some farm animals got it because they were there. But you know who did not get it? Most people.
The biggest, most confounding miracle of all time and most people missed it. Was that because they did not get sent angels from heaven singing to them? No. It was more than likely because they had a preconceived idea of what the event should look like and it was not found in a baby, certainly not born in a barn, kings do not hang out in barns, and then to be born to a teenage mom, imagine!
If I had to have one word to describe how people are feeling this year, this season, it would be the word intense. People’s lives have an intensity to them that is not going away, pressures that seem to squeeze the life out of us keep finding a way into our world. We are looking for something, someone to take some pressure off, but we do not even know what we are looking for.
What if someone told you that they knew someone who could help you with the intensity? Someone who could save the world, your world, and then they point you to this little newborn baby laying in a barn surrounded by animals. You would probably call the person who told you this, a few bricks short of a load.
God does not work in the ways we expect, hardly ever. Not in my life, and certainly not in the lives of the folks in the Bible. God shows up continually but in ways that astound us, that do not make sense and in ways that we could never have guessed. Sometimes it feels like He totally missed it, He failed to appear, and our hope gets dashed to the ground, believing the lie that He failed.
But He did not fail, He cannot. He did not lie about saving the world, He cannot lie. He did not miss the timing, He was right on time. His Plan A was accomplished thoroughly but God did it His way.
This Christmas as we celebrate the birth of a little baby boy born in a barn in Bethlehem to a couple teenage kids let us keep in mind that God is not a God who can be stopped, pushed aside or ignored. He will find a way of getting our attention.
Silent night, Holy night is not going to be this Christmas, we have constant noise and fear bombarding us about “covid”, we have grocery shortages, isolation, discord, disunity even amongst families. There are floods, snow, wind and nature seems hell bent on getting our attention.
Even if we decide to not celebrate Christmas, stay home and watch tv, Christmas will come. Just like the baby born into the house of bread, that is what Bethlehem means, house of bread and that baby would grow up to call Himself, “the bread of life.” John 6:35
Bread is something that every culture has, from flat bread, naan bread, sourdough bread, to whole wheat, bread is a staple throughout the whole world. Jesus calls Himself the bread of life. We eat bread to sustain ourselves, even prisoners can exist on bread and water. What does your soul need? Does that question surprise you in the fact that your soul needs food? We are body, soul and spirit and as the physical body needs food so does your spiritual body. It needs bread to sustain itself and that bread is found in the Bread of Life, Jesus.
Take some time this week to ponder that question: what does my spirit need?
Perhaps the answer can be found in a little baby, laying in an animal barn, visited by shepherds who were given directions by angels, angels who appeared in the sky singing about the birth of this new born King. In case they got lost, a star was lit up in the sky over the barn to guide people on their way. God did not miss a detail. The event was planned and executed perfectly – the Father sent His Son to be the Saviour of the world. 1 John 4:14
Did you miss it, this event? It is not too late, it is never too late. The King that was born in the barn is still calling to you today to draw close, to taste and see that the Lord is good. Psalm 34:8
Merry Christmas my friends.