I’m one of those. Unashamedly, I’m one who puts away Christmas as soon as I can. I’m not eager to sweep away the mystery or the miracle, but I’m hungry for new and will get there as soon as I can.
There is, though, a crude little sculpture I can’t box away into months of darkness.
Glance quickly and your mind plays a trick on you. You did, after all, see numerous Marys and Josephs and Babies last month. You can almost dismiss this clay as just another Nativity scene, but it’s not.
Mary is on a donkey, yes. But she’s holding the Baby in her arms, and her womb is empty. The hope and wonder has been replaced by an overwhelming sense to rescue her son so He can rescue the world someday.
See them fleeing Herod’s insatiable greed and insanity as they race to Egypt. Joseph and Mary – and the Rescuer of the world – are refugees.
Tired. Misplaced. Unsafe. And not in control.
Are you not in control? I know. It’s terrible, isn’t it?
Dear, dear Joseph has had quite a couple of years. Just a year or so ago he was well into a career designing and producing in his carpentry studio. And now the Master Artist is radically carving his life into something else.
Does your life look different than you planned? Is your heart being carved?
And Mary. Bless her. Her days were clearly not her own, either, and this escape to protect the Son of God must have seemed almost wrong. Did we misunderstand, Joseph? Truly we didn’t hear Yahweh clearly… Her journey to Bethlehem had been full of Hope and Promise kicking inside her. What life was she giving the toddler in her arms now?
Have you ever felt inadequate? Do you maybe have regrets?
Friend, look at the refugees, holding the Hope of the World in their arms, furiously determined to do their part in helping God heal the world.
I love change. I’ve craved it. I’ve sought it many times. I’m simply fond of new.
But I do see how much of my yearning is steeped in discontentment. Lord, quiet my restlessness. My infatuation reaches only to the point when I’m in control… when I’m the one dictating the change.
I bow to the idol of control as I resist the Author’s twists on my story. I simmer in anxiety and drown those around me with it. I scorn brokenness without noticing the Carpenter wants to reform my heart. Wants to carve away the ugliness I crudely patched on myself.
Have you ever felt the need to be repurposed?
He’s calling you to bravely live in the unpredictable. (Life has a way of shifting what we hold dear, doesn’t it?) He’s calling you to radically embrace the unknown. For in the unknown, we’re no longer pushing our own agendas. There, our purpose becomes much grander. And really, it feels so good to be part of something big instead of starring in our own little mini-dramas. (You know your own story and can read it if you want.)
But you are a chosen people… Beloved, remember you do not belong in this world. You are resident aliens living in exile… Live honorably. I Peter 2:9-12
And though we’re refugees — tired, scared, numb — ultimately His plan is for us to travel right into His presence. Away from choices gone bad, away from insecurity and regret, away from misplaced treasures.
Journey with me?