Can you imagine what life must have been like right before Jesus was born?
Now, I didn’t live in first century Bethlehem, so I can’t say for certain what it was like. But from what I’ve heard, the Jewish people were waiting for a Messiah–a powerful leader who would overthrow the Roman government and restore their people.
They were expecting a conquering king. And they had been waiting a long, long time.
But God had other plans, and those plans began with a tiny baby.
You know the story.
Jesus was born, wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. He was born to the virgin Mary, and He lived as a carpenter for about 30 years before he began His ministry.
He was crucified, was buried, was raised on the third day and then ascended into heaven, making salvation possible for us all. (Did you just skim this??)
You know this. You’ve heard it a hundred times. But the 1st century Jews didn’t know this.
Now, I imagine some of them knew that something was going on. After all, the wise men did come to worship Him. But I’m guessing, that for the Jewish people as a whole, it was just another year. Year after year with nothing new, nothing to report. Herod killed all of their baby boys. Where was God? Why didn’t He do something??
Except, that what they didn’t realize–what we often don’t realize–is that He already has. We just don’t know it yet.
Look at the situation around you. What is worrying you? What is bothering you? What is keeping you up at night? What things are making you ask, “God, where are you? Why aren’t you doing something??”
Maybe the answer isn’t that God is ignoring you or that He doesn’t care about your needs. Maybe, just maybe, the answer is that He does care. He cares so much, in fact, that He set a plan in motion long ago, before you even asked. A grand plan that is bigger than what you could ever ask or imagine. You just don’t know it yet.
Of course, there is always the possibility that there is no grand plan. Sometimes life just stinks because that’s life and that’s how it goes. We have the fall and sin nature and free will and all of that to thank for that.
But the beautiful thing about Christmas is that no matter how bleak the circumstances look, we can have hope. Even when we don’t see God working and we can’t fathom the outcome, we can trust.
After all, if God worked an amazing, miraculous plan right under peoples’ noses once and they never even saw it coming–surely He could do it again, right?
I think so.
By the way, if you’re stuck, waiting to see God at work in your everyday circumstances and could use something inspirational to encourage and strengthen you for the journey, you should definitely check out the book Trust Without Borders by Arabah Joy.
It’s supposed to be a 40-day story-based devotional on the topic of trust, but I enjoyed it so much I read the entire book in just a few days! lol. It really encouraged me to exercise faith in my own day-to-day life and the stories were so captivating, I couldn’t put it down!
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