So in a real sense, resolutions and second chances and beginning again are fresh in the minds of many of us. Our thoughts and hearts are swirling around prophecies concerning one who is to come, dumbstruck people dealing with the power of an unexpected visit from the Holy Spirit, stories of star-struck shepherds and magi, and mangers.
I always feel the urge to remind folks of what ISN'T in the Scripture: no little drummer boy, no lowing cattle, no quiet baby, and no three kings. (Check it out, if you don't believe me: there are WISE MEN, and THREE GIFTS.) But this year............well, this year stinks for a lot of folks; a lot of folks I know, and a lot of folks I don't. So perhaps, instead of remembering what ISN'T in Scripture, let's look at what is:
*The promise of presence: The gift Mary carries no doubt brings her hardship and misunderstanding before He changes the world. She is not removed from that, but is given a Presence that stays with her, even years later when she and Joseph lose sight of Him for a while when He's 12.
*The assurance of hope: As bleak as some of the Scripture around the nativity is (Rachel weeping for her children in Matthew?), there is a heartbeat that moves throughout the story: "And yet. And yet...."
*The potential of a dream: For Joseph, guidance came in the form of dreams. Our dreams can have the power to change us and point us in the right direction.
*The ability to go home by another way: The Magi travel into danger and trouble in order to find their way to Him. Their story reminds us that - though we may not be familiar with a new direction - we can always go home by another way.
Of course it would be wonderful if our lives were like Madison Avenue spins them. But they aren't. How amazing is it that Scripture paints a far more realistic, and messy, picture of life - filled with concerns and family problems and unexpected changes in direction? And yet......."Glory to God in the Highest and PEACE......"
Keep all of these things, and ponder them in your heart.