6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. – Luke 2:6-7
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
This year has been a hard year for many of us. It’s been a year full of unexpected challenges and changes. It’s been a year full of disappointment and misery. Maybe in the middle of all of this you have found yourself asking “where is God?”
That first Christmas was no different. Mary and Joseph were planning to get married. Then suddenly an Angel of the Lord appears and tells them that they are going to have a baby. This certainly was not part of their plans. Then came the birth. A long journey to Bethlehem. No room in the local guest houses upon arrival. No hospital waiting with pain relief and clean surroundings. Instead all that was available was a dirty, smelly animal trough to lay a new born baby in. I am sure none of this was part of Mary’s birth plan.
These events may well have provoked Mary and Joseph to ask where God was in all of this mess and chaos. The Angel said this baby would be the Son of God, the King and Saviour of the whole wide world. Surely no place to stay, a dirty manger to lay him in is not part of God’s plan? But amazingly it was. The manger was exactly the way God wanted his Son to enter into the world. It sent a clear message that God is at work in the mess and chaos of life. We don’t often see it or feel it but Jesus was born into a mess to save messy people like you and me. He was born as a helpless babe to show that God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. This truth should give us comfort that despite the challenges and changes this year has brought; despite how weak and weary we might be feeling, God has not abandoned us. His plans for our world and our lives have not failed. But he is at work even through the mess and chaos of 2020 and he can use all of these things for the good of those he loves. This is true even when we don’t understand how or why.
May the circumstances and surroundings of Jesus’ birth give us fresh hope and comfort that Jesus was born into a messy world to save us from it.
May I wish you all a peaceful and Christ-filled Christmas
Yours in Christ