Psalm 97:1-2, 5-6, 11-12
Today’s scriptures are an interesting mix. In 1 John, John
talks of Christ coming into the world. The Word of life was made visible.
John says that what he has seen and proclaims to us, is so that we too may
have fellowship. The psalmist proclaims the glory of the Lord and calls
us to give thanks. And in the Gospel of John, the disciple proclaims
to us about the empty tomb. He saw and he believed.
I wonder how Mary and Joseph felt? I remember my first
child. The anticipation, the wait, the labor, the delivery. My
wife and I had taken a class, talked to doctors and nurses, consulted relatives,
bought a book. We were anxious, but we were ready. And yet there
was so much uncertainty. Then labor started. I had my book, my
stop watch and I knew how things were supposed to go. Contractions
had to be three minutes in duration, five minutes apart, then we would call
the doctor and go to the hospital. Well, after 24 hours, numerous desperate
calls to doctor, nurses and family, my wife calmly and kindly told me it
was time to go. Okay, she said if I wanted to live, we go. I
was absolutely convinced that the hospital staff would laugh and scoff and
send us back home. A half hour later Andrew was born. And my
life was changed forever.
I wonder how Joseph and Mary felt? They didn’t have friends
or family on hand. They didn’t have a warm, clean hospital. Did
Mary question the angel and God? Did Joseph question his decision to
stick by Mary? But there was the baby. And the world was changed
forever. Sometimes I question Jesus’ birth. I mean, what was
God thinking? I could come up with a better plan. A baby?
Why not just start with some larger than life, wealthy television personality
who could use mass communication to get the message out? Born in a
manger in some backwater berg in the Middle East? Why not a golden
cradle in a penthouse in New York? And this baby will grow up,
pick some yahoos as disciples, preach the good news, then move to the sacrifice
of the cross that leads to the empty tomb?
God’s plan seems ridiculous in ways. Why does it have to
be this way? And yet it’s perfect. The breathtaking miracle of
new life. The inexplicable loss we experience in death. Interconnected
and inseparable. And then the empty tomb. We are so lucky.
We have John’s testimony. He tells us of Jesus coming into the world
and the empty tomb. Joseph and Mary had a beautiful baby boy, but they
did not have John’s testimony. They didn’t know what Jesus had in store
for us. Their faith in God is incredible. It’s their strength
and God’s plan that leads to the fellowship that John talks about.
On Christmas eve I went to church to worship God and have fellowship with
other believers. What a miraclulous event. I marvel that such
a diverse collection of people would gather together for the purpose of glorifying
God and giving thanks for the birth of the Christ. I wonder if Mary
or Joseph had any idea that 2000 years later I would be thanking them for
their sacrifice and for just being good parents. What an incredible
and miraculous thing. What a wonderful time of year. Here’s hoping
the joy and hope of Christ is with you this holiday season.
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