Do you ever question God and what he’s doing in your life?
What are you doing God?
Sometimes it’s really hard to understand why God does things the way he does.
It’s interesting as you reflect back on your life and things that you didn’t understand then have somehow contributed to the way your life is now and maybe you can understand now what you didn’t understand then.
But sometimes we don’t understand even as we near the end of our life and simply have to trust God and what he has allowed.
The death of a loved one – a tragic event in the world like a terrorist attack or a natural disaster that has taken lives and livelihoods.
It’s not to say that God has deliberately caused them but just allowing them can make us question God.
I wonder how Joseph felt today when he is visited by an angel to hear about God’s plan.
Discovering that his fiancé is pregnant and that he is not the father.
Having devised his own plan to separate from her the angel explains God’s plan.
That Mary is pregnant with a child of the Holy Spirit of God!
Is that what you’re expecting me to believe?
What are you doing God?
Is that what you’re expecting me to tell all my friends and relatives?
Of any number of ways that God could have brought about his plan he chose to have an unwed, engaged young woman become pregnant, conceived by the Holy Spirit.
God had tried a number of ways in the past to reach out and speak to his people.
But now God has a different plan as the book of Hebrews begins – In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.
There are theological reasons why the Saviour had to be human and divine.
Human to pay for human sin.
Divine so the payment would be a sinless death thereby fulfilling the entire debt of sin for all people.
But how God achieved this could have been done in a way that could have been done under the radar that simply achieved its purpose and that was it.
But God had a plan
Here we have a story that captures the minds of writers from which hymns, songs and carols have been written for 2,000 years and continue to be written.
If there was room in the inn would we have had such beautiful carols like Away in a Manger?
If God had kept this quiet and not announced the birth of Jesus to the Shepherds with a host of angels would we have been singing Silent Night and Hark the Herald Angels Sing.
And even though Christmas gets hijacked with Santa Claus and other commercial ventures – how bland it would be if we didn’t have the likes of Carols by Candlelight and all the Christmas trimmings in supermarkets and around the place even in homes of non-Christians – even those of other religious beliefs.
Sometimes I wonder whether they get more excited about Christmas than the church.
We sometimes get caught up in arguing whether we should be having the wise men in Christmas pageants and whether it’s right or wrong to sing Christmas Carols during Advent.
Sometimes we get so focused on the busyness of preparing children’s services and other events that we don’t really feel like celebrating.
We complain because Supermarkets put up Christmas decorations in October and November rather than praising God that they are doing our work of highlighting Christmas to many more people than we ever could.
God chose a way to spread his love into the world in a way that has captured the imagination and hearts of the world for 2,000 years.
The world doesn’t get excited over burning bushes, plagues of Egypt, daily sacrifices, exiles and temples – all ways that God has previously communicated with the world.
But here God showed his brilliance in choosing a way that would enthral the world and it doesn’t seem to be getting less important.
In fact it’s usually parents at State Schools that shout the loudest when political correctness steps in to cancel Christmas celebrations for fear of offending.
It’s usually your average householder that complains when the council doesn’t put up Christmas decorations.
God devised a daring plan.
Instead of fires and floods to judge the world of its sin, God would become flesh and blood and take the judgment on himself.
The creator of the universe, the One who called everything into being with his word, the great I Am would take on human flesh by having his word become flesh.
And not like anyone could have imagined
God as a baby.
A vulnerable baby born in unhygienic surroundings – could you imagine the health department’s horror.
Not a baby of powerful royalty, but a helpless baby, born in a town not known for its importance – But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’
God took great risk in doing his plan this way:
What if something happened to God as a helpless little child when Herod sent a decree to destroy all baby boys?
That was the chance that love was prepared to take.
What if Mary faced the punishment of Moses’ law like the woman caught in adultery.
After all if it wasn’t for Jesus they could have enacted the punishment set down by God through Moses and stoned her to death.
But, you see, God was always in control of the narrative.
God sent an angel to Joseph to tell him about his plan.
“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit”.
He sent an angel to Mary and Joseph to have them flee from Herod.
And God continues to be in control of the narrative as he continues to open the hearts of people not only through the church but through secular means – supermarkets, governments, TV and radio.
Yes we may have to endure the occasional Santa Claus and Happy Holidays but they are only there because the true Christmas narrative of the birth of Jesus continues to tug at the hearts of the people .- and for that we should be so thankful to God.
They might not know the 10 Commandments or the Apostles Creed or even the Lord’s Prayer – but they know something about a baby born in a manger – they know something about a virgin birth even if they don’t really understand.
They know about angels appearing to shepherds and 3 wise men bring gold, frankincense and myrrh – what on earth is frankincense and myrrh – it doesn’t really matter.
No one really knows what was leading the news of the time back 2000 years ago – in 2000 year’s time no one will really be interested in the things that are happening today – but I can guarantee they will be still talking about a baby born in a manger – unless Jesus has already returned.
Would we be talking today of a baby born in a palace.
Would we be talking of a baby born of nobility?
Would we have been talking about a leader killed in battle rather than executed on a cross.
God knows exactly the plan he has begun in the Christmas narrative.
And God knows exactly what he is doing in the world even if we don’t understand it or see any way that God is in control.
God’s plan and narrative is summed up in his message to Joseph today: Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”
God is with us – he has always been with us and he will always be with us.
Let us trust what God is doing even if we don’t always understand it.