Saturday, December 14, 2013

Don't Wait for Perfect Conditions

Christmas is often referred to as the most wonderful time of the year, but for many it turns into the most stressful time of the year. However, I don't think any of us have faced stress like young Mary, the mother of Jesus. 

  • She had a face-to-face encounter with an angel.
  • She had to tell her finance she was pregnant with God's baby.
  • She had to travel away from home close to her due date.
  • She gave birth away from home and away from all the women in her life who would have assisted her in the birth and instead ended up delivering her baby in a place where animals slept. 
  • Shepherds visited her in the middle of the night almost immediately after giving birth. 
In Luke 2:8-19, we read about the Shepherds' visit to Mary:

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,14 “Glory to God in the highest,    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.
In the midst of possibly the craziest nine months any young girl in history has ever experienced, Mary welcomed people to come and meet Jesus, even though her circumstances were less than perfect. She had just given birth in a dirty, smelly stable after a long day of traveling. And yet, Mary had the peace and wisdom to slow down, treasure the moments and soak in all that was going on around her. Scripture says she listened to Shepherds, lowly shepherds, and treasured and pondered what they said. 
At this moment in time, Mary is holding the promised Messiah in her arms and John 1:14 says she is holding the One who became flesh in order to dwell among us. She is holding Emmanuel - God who came to bring connection so we can know Him intimately and personally. 
This Christmas, let's follow Mary's example and not wait for perfect conditions before we allow others into our loves so we can introduce them to our Savior. Mary could have told Joseph to send the shepherds away because she was tired or weak, but she didn't. If we wait around for perfect conditions -- we will never accomplish anything of eternal value this Christmas season. May we all slow down, listen to the people God has placed in our lives, and find simple ways to show them our Savior, just like Mary did with the shepherds the night Jesus was born. 

Lord, I pray this Christmas season, we will slow down and simply adore YOU in whatever less than perfect conditions we may find ourselves. Help us to praise you and point others to You in the midst of stress. You came to be our Prince of Peace, so Lord, let us live like we truly believe You are. You are Emmanuel - God with us. you came to connect with us, now we ask you to help us, help others connect with You. In Your name I pray, Amen. 

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