When you don’t feel like God is with you because things are going wrong, remember this. The more friction and difficulty you are facing may be an indicator you are right in the middle of the will of God.
Let’s see how things really were for the main characters during the first Christmas.
The 1st Difficulty of Christmas – A virgin conceives – God breaks the rules.
(Was Mary confused or perplexed? Did Mary think; “Lord, how can something like this be something You are doing when there are no precedents to compare it with?”)
The 2nd Difficulty of Christmas – God uses a peasant teenage girl to bring His only Son into the world.
(Did Mary think; “Lord, are You sure You want someone like me to have the responsibility of birthing and protecting the world’s only antidote for sin?”)
The 3rd Difficulty of Christmas – God impregnates someone’s daughter.
(Where are Mary’s parents? Why aren’t they mentioned? Were they alive? If they were there, how did this strain their relationship? Did Mary think; “Lord, how will I explain this awkward situation to my parents?” Why didn’t Gabriel show up and make this announcement when my parents were in the room?”)
The 4th Difficulty of Christmas – God impregnates another man’s fiancé’.
(What was going on inside Joseph’s mind? How did this strain his relationship with Mary? Did Mary think; “Lord, don’t You care about how this makes me look to Joseph? Why didn’t Gabriel show up and make this announcement when Joseph was in the room?”)
The 5th Difficulty of Christmas – God does this in the most religious culture on the planet.
(Did Mary think; “Lord, why did You have to do this to me here, in front of these people, in this tiny village? I’ve tried to live right, what’s going to happen to my reputation?”)
The 6th Difficulty of Christmas – They were required to submit to the government decree to get registered.
(Did Joseph and Mary think; “Lord, aren’t You powerful enough to get us an exemption from this government intrusion?”)
The 7th Difficulty of Christmas – Nine months pregnant and having to travel 80 miles through hostile territory.
(Did Joseph and Mary think; “Lord, do You have no compassion for how painful and dangerous this journey is?”)
The 8th Difficulty of Christmas – No room in Bethlehem to have the baby when they arrived from their long journey.
(Did Joseph and Mary think; “Lord, can’t You plan better? Are You sure You are in this? Why isn’t their a place for Your such a special Son as Yours? Why does this have to be so difficult?”) As my friend Dominic said, “The let-down of traveling this far and having no place to give birth must have been devastating”.
The 9th Difficulty of Christmas – They have the baby in a barn with animal dung floors.
(Did Joseph and Mary think; “Lord, couldn’t you provide something better than this? Why are there more animal witnesses here than human witnesses, especially for an event as important as this?; Isn’t Your Son important enough to You to provide a better place for Him to be born?”)
The 10th Difficulty of Christmas – God uses the Star to let the Wise Men know about Christ’s birth, but also allows a murderous king to hear about it.
(Did Joseph and Mary think; “Lord, why couldn’t You help us stay lost in the crowd that was in town and keep this a secret, so that crazy insecure king doesn’t come after us”)
The 11th Difficulty of Christmas – They have to run because the king puts a contract on them.
(Did Joseph and Mary think; “Lord, why do we have to run? Can’t you just kill the king who is trying to kill Your Son?”)
The 12th Difficulty of Christmas – God comes to earth to become one of Us!
God comes to earth in the flesh. He condescends to become a vulnerable human being to bring a holy blood transfusion for the disease of sin in each of us. When we accept this Good News about Jesus by faith, God saves us by imputing Jesus’ righteousness to us.
Perhaps the most difficult and delicate part in the Christmas story was God’s part. The Creator who spoke galaxies into existence used His best thinking to bring about the perfect way to save freewill, sinful humans, without making them robots.
For Mary, it was difficult physically and emotionally, it strained her relationship with her parents, her fiancé, her peers and the authorities…every area of her life was touched by God’s work in her life. I am so inspired by Mary’s silent obedience. May we all say as Mary said, “Let it be to me according to Your word Lord”.
For the rest of us, living for God and bringing Christ into our world can be difficult as well. So the next time you feel like God is on “dial tone” or He has “left the building” because you are experiencing difficult times, remember the Christmas story. You can also think back to your school days; the teacher was always silent during the test. In some ways, I now see God as even more wise and powerful, as He guides us through the intricate maze of life’s difficult and impossible situations. The Lord is closer to us than you think. He is Emmanuel…God with us.
Joy to the World, the Lord Has Come!