Hello and Merry Christmas, so far!
When last I checked in, I was busy decking every hall I could get my hands on, near and far. Finally, I ran out of poinsettias and had to stop (until I could procure some more). All the while, as promised, I was ruminating on how best to remember Jesus this Christmas, praying that God would help me and my family with that. He sure has so far!
The first thing that happened was this: On Divine prompting,I reinstated the standing prayer meeting that I had cancelled for the month of December to give moms a chance to Christmas shop, bake and decorate their trees. What a blessing that meeting was! I love all the lights and decorations and sips of hot cider, but there was something very settling and grounding about stopping all the bustling and sipping, being in an undecorated prayer room and being with God, quietly.
In that place, I experienced some of the exquisite simplicity of the manger. Don't you just love God? He is enthroned in majesty, He created the world and hung the stars; there is none higher than Him. Yet, He chose to come to us, naked and helpless as a baby in a lowly manger. He met with us so meaningfully in the spartan little prayer room that night. We emerged all the richer for the experience. It would have been so easy to cease meeting, because, after all, what mom couldn't use a few hours while her family was otherwise occupied? There is so much to do. It even seemed neccessary. I'm so thankful for God's faithful promptings: It was one of the most special times I've had with Him in a while, and I almost cancelled it!
The second thing that helped my family remember Jesus this Christmas season was that we went to see The The Nativity Story.http://thenativitystory.com What a beautiful movie! We all loved it: It was truly breathtaking. The movie makers got out of the way and let the story speak for itself. Aside from the fact that they didn't fill the whole sky with angels in the scene of His birth, it was accurate. It was even deeply romantic. Joseph and Mary's humility, earthiness, bravery and obedience both convicted me and brought me to tears.
I've always objected to Joseph being depicted in art as the guy in the background, leaning on a staff. After all, once the angel appeared to Mary and she consented to the immaculate conception, all further angelic communications were directed at Joseph. He led, sheilded and protected Mary and Jesus. What an awesome calling. This movie showed Joseph in action. It was beautiful to behold. Joseph is a fine example of godly manhood, and this movie showcased that fact.
Mary was humble, earthy, beautiful, courageous, virtuous. It seemed an honest portrayal. She was shown in the context of her family and community. Her upbringing and personality showed. But so did the love and hate around her.
Something profound, yet almost inexplicable happened to us as we watched the story unfold. We were left in awe of God's ability to accomplish His will, regardless of who tries to thwart it. We're still marvelling that God acts in ways that man just can't expect. I think we're just floored by His majesty, strength, humility and power. WOW.
I hope you go see this movie. My prayer is that it'll intersect you the way it did me and my family: it didn't leave us satiated but rather, longing to know this magnificent God of ours better.