“We have peace with God.” Romans 5:1
What a way to run an incarnation!
The coming of God in the flesh is one of the great moments in history, right up there with Creation and the resurrection. Yet so much about the birth of the Messiah is puzzling, surprising, even outlandish.
The casting appears all wrong. A peasant girl. A carpenter. The setting is puzzling. Bethlehem was full of surly, out-of-town tax payers. This is before Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn Express, even Motel 6. The inns were booked.
So full was the city that Joseph and Mary couldn’t find anywhere to stay, even though Mary was about 39½ weeks along, and had just traveled about 80 miles ON A DONKEY! That trip would have taken about two weeks or so. You’d think that God would pull a few strings here. The incarnation was swaddled in uncertainty.
Yet the theme of the second week of Advent is peace, and the candle we light is called “The Bethlehem Candle.” Who planned this? Nothing about the first Christmas in Bethlehem was peaceful, unless you look at it through God’s eyes.
Look at it through God’s eyes and you see a plan. You see the outworking of salvation. You see Him meeting every need. You see love. You see hope. Right there in the middle of all that chaos you find God’s peace.
God’s peace is like a steady, dependable line through the sine curves of life. The good and bad will oscillate back and forth. If you tie yourself to that chaotic rhythm then you’re going to be alternately high, then low. Over and over again. You’ll be just like everyone in Bethlehem that first Christmas.
Everyone, that is, except Mary and Joseph. I’m sure they went through moments of panic. No one is immune to the sine curves. But they had a basic trust in God and a fundamental commitment to obedience. Trust plus obedience equals peace.
I think most people reading this GraceWave trust God. The alternative seems foolish. It’s the obedience part that trips us up.
Obedience is stillness when everything around you is swirling. Obedience is silence when the world is shouting. Obedience is refusing to wrestle with every disagreeable circumstance. Obedience is stepping aside when someone throws dirt at you.
So when will you be still this week? Or silent? Who, or what, do you need to stop wrestling with? Or let go of?
God’s job is not to make life easy, but His job is to give you peace. So find the time and the will during your busy Bethlehem days to trust and obey. Then you will find peace.
Grace (and peace),
Dr. Terry Ellis
December 11, 2018