There was a common theme in many of the posts I read from family, friends, and acquaintances during this Christmas season of 2014. The first couple I read I accepted at face value, but after a few face-to-face conversations, one phone call, and dozens of very similar posts, I started to really think about what this theme, or trend, might mean.
I could probably sum all of the conversations and posts up to this one vague sentence: This has just been a different kind of Christmas.
That one sentence covered a myriad of situations: first Christmas after a spouse/child passed away, Christmas in the hospital (self or close relative), Christmas after adult child has married and goes to in-laws instead, Christmas after divorce and kids go to other parent, Christmas with type-A flu, Christmas with no stress, Christmas where celebrations don’t take place on the “usual” day, and this list could go on and on.
and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. Luke 2:7
Mary and Joseph in route to Bethlehem for the required census and in perfect timing, in the perfect place, Mary goes into labor. Yes, just like women now yearn to be able to tell their children they were born in a barn, I’m certain this was Mary’s dream too. 🙂
I doubt, knowing what they knew, Mary and Joseph thought Jesus would be born in a lowly stable. God’s son. A king. A Savior. His birth plan was different.
It wasn’t what they would have chosen. It wasn’t what they wanted. It wasn’t even convenient. It was Christmas, however, and it was meant to be different.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone round them, and they were terrified. Luke 2:8-9
Shepherds. You know, men who sleep, eat, and travel with sheep 24/7. They are dirty. They smell bad. They definitely have no plans of entertaining anyone except for the sheep in their care.
All of the sudden they’re entertaining an angel. At work. In the middle of the night.
Surely they were like Scrooge and thought they had eaten some bad food and were hallucinating at first. Then the angel told them how to find Jesus and suddenly there were many, many angels praising God right there in the field with the shepherds and sheep.
Somehow I don’t think this turn of events was on the shepherd’s nightly rotation list. But it was Christmas, and Christmas is different.
Do I think it was easy for those men to walk away from the sheep in the field to go see a baby in the middle of the night? No. I don’t.
Do I think it was easy for Mary or Joseph to accept that Mary was still a virgin and carrying God’s son? No. I don’t.
Do I think Christmas should ever feel routine or normal?
Christmas is the day we dedicate to remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, God’s son, in human form. The fact that God chose to send His only Son to dwell on earth for the sole purpose of being a sacrifice for my sins so that I have a way to live with them eternally is a miracle.
Christmas is a season of miracles. Miracles are not routine or normal. They wouldn’t be miracles if they were.
So I can choose to feel disappointed and saddened by the things I missed this Christmas season, or I can choose to seek out the miracles that happened in the midst of my different.
My favorite thing about this Christmas was all the times someone came up to me and said, “Wait until you hear what happened!” and then proceeded to tell me about a Christmas miracle they had witnessed, been unknowingly used to make happen, or had happen to them. Each time I was reminded of those same shepherds who left their sheep to go find a baby.
What do you think they did after they saw that baby? Do you think they formed a wall of protection around Joseph, Mary, and Jesus? Worshiped God and then returned to their sheep? Headed home for a warm meal and bath?
When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. Luke 2:18
They went and told everyone what they had just witnessed! It was so different that they couldn’t keep it to themselves.
Were you that excited over Christmas? Did you share it with everyone you came in contact with?
There was something different about that baby, and there is something different about everyone who comes to know Him. ” />
Our different won’t always feel amazing. As a matter of fact it might just feel like the worst experience of our life as we’re walking through it.
But folks, sometimes the best things God has for us comes at the end of different.