Monday, December 1, 2014
It Begins, Of Course, with a Baby
This Sunday, a woman stood in front of the congregation and shared her salvation-story. It began, like many of my favourites, with adoption. (I love a good adoption story. The classic themes touch my heart - family, redemption, love, happily ever after. The correlation with Jesus' journey here to bring us back home makes me crack wide open.) But this one was a little different. It wasn't a baby that God was bringing to her, but that God brought her to himself, through her baby.
She was adopting a child, and while she waited for her to arrive, was struck with her own inadequacy to raise a child. She knew she needed more, something better, someOne bigger, to help her. So she went looking, and found a gospel church where she was led to the best help - the Saviour.
As Advent begins, we're already thinking about Christmas - the birth of the baby who came to bring us to God. And to think that God still sends babies to bring us to Him? Ahh, a deep breath of wonder.
My own life is crazy these days. Full of the mixed-up stress of juggling and loving three needy littles. Filling them up with goodness because every minute counts. Staying up half the night, lolling half-awake on the couch half the day because the tyranny of every moment counting has to collapse somewhere. It doesn't look a lot like the gospel, really. But Jesus must matter whenever there's need - because that's what the gospel is. Good news for the broken. And in my broken exhaustion, how does the gospel heal? How does the Bethlehem Babe matter?
He came right into the mess, didn't He? He didn't shimmer down through angel wings and a stream of gold to a pristine cradle. He came into the world in a glut of mother-pain and was welcomed into the everyday messiness of a stable. And angels sent shepherds right on in, right there, to worship. They didn't wait til He had grown up and made order from the mess. They came and saw and bowed, in awe at the strange and staggering glory of Emmanuel - God, with us.
So here, in my own mess? He uses, of course, my children, to point me to Him. Their quick forgiveness. Their delight in loving. Their sheer miraculous existence. He's here - changing my stubborn heart, working and reworking my character to make me holy. Prying the self-idol out of my grasp. Laughing with me at my absurd expectations of this messy world. He's right here in my stable and I -
What can I do? I can look at the unsatisfactory stable, or I can see the One who makes the mess irrelevant. I can see a manger, or my Saviour. Here in my own not-enough-room. Here on my own journey far from home. Here in my not-what-I-planned life. He meets me in my mess, and His holiness stills my heart. I bow and worship, babe in a manger, Son of God, Son of man. Right here, bone-tired and flecked with spit-up, I worship.
Have a blessed advent, friends.