Clocks, Calendars and The Christmas Story

Have you ever sat for a moment and considered what it means for God, a divine being existing outside of time, to constrain His will to within a manmade calendar?

What it means for that same God, to whom a day is a thousand years and a thousand years a day, to use humans, who get irritated when it takes more than 30 seconds to download an App?

We believe God is sovereign. That means we believe he has supreme or ultimate power. Jeremiah says in chapter 32 verse 17:

“Ah Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.”

And this is what he says of himself in verse 27:

“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind.  Is anything too hard for me?”

The sovereign author of all life. The sovereign orchestrator of THE grand plan that is the beginning of the universe until this moment.

He used a young virgin girl, of a specific ethnic origin, living in an occupied country. He used a simple, devout carpenter living and working in a specific village at an exact moment in history. He used the child of 2 octogenarians to prepare the way. He used a power hungry and insecure king. I can go on…

He uses me.

He uses you.

BUT what does it mean for us?

I would suggest that I t means the same thing for us that it meant for them.

It means surprise, and fear and jammed up dreams.

It means hope deferred and then realized.

It means interference and sacrifice and dismay.

It means gratitude and submission.

It means moments of overwhelming wonder and intense joy.

And, it means A LOT of waiting.

We throw around phrases like “He’s never early, He’s never late, He’s always on time” and “God’s got this” like we have a clue. We say we trust Him and His ways are perfect and then:

The immigration process gets confusing and takes an unexpected turn.

We realize that we are in the wrong program at college and wasting time and money.

Our spouse or child stops attending church.

We get a highly infectious illness 2 weeks before we are totravel home for the holidays.

We lose our job.

Our child gets sick and can’t go away to university like she’d planned while undergoing painful treatment.

And what do we do? We can feel and forget what we have believed to be true about God.

OR

We can feel and REMEMBER.

We remember that NO immigration officer, NO government official, NO employer, NO doctor and NO diagnosis can hold back or thwart God’s beautiful, grand, redemptive plan.

Because this eternal God who is OUTSIDE of time constrains His will to WITHIN a human calendar. And these painful ‘place holders’ in life serve the divine purpose to position us where we must be, when we must be there and with whom we must be. And His purposes are fulfilled.

This brings us back to the Christmas story. At several points in the account of the birth of Christ it is emphasized that things happened when they did, where they did and in whom they did to FULFILL the word of the Lord.

Because we know the end of the story we can sometimes minimize the pain, disillusionment and sacrifice involved in the Christmas story:

Resisting the cultural norm and remaining true to one another despite apparent betrayal seemed insane and was HARD.

Travelling to another town, when you are about to give birth, to satisfy a ridiculous government requirement was HARD.

Fleeing to a foreign country to escape a crazy king and staying there for years was scary, and inconvenient and HARD.

Giving birth at over 80’s years of age after giving up hope of ever becoming pregnant was HARD.

We imagine that our lot is somehow different.

That, somehow, everything they experienced was worth it because they were involved in bringing God close.

But then again, so are we.

So do what you have to do. Fill out the forms and send the emails and make the appointments and take the medicine and update your CV and. …Pray…and...Wait. ……and...Believe….

Because God is present, He remembers and He will fulfill His purposes in and through you and NOTHING will prevent Him from doing so.