Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bethlehem Ponderings

On Sunday night, I attended a gathering at my church designed to help us pause during the busyness of the holiday season and reflect a bit on the Reason we are all running around celebrating in the first place. Each of us received a handout with some questions to ponder:

~As you ponder the scene of Jesus' birth, what sticks out to you? Ask God why this is important for you.

~Think about how Jesus' birth in a place like a stable in Bethlehem is a symbol of humility. Jesus' humble beginning started in a stable.

~Where am I being called to be humble?

Here were some of my thoughts:

As I ponder the scene of Jesus' birth, the thing that sticks out to me is the phrase "No room at the inn". Jesus, the King and Savior, couldn't even be born at the inn. I imagine how frustrating and scary it must have been for Mary and Joseph. Did they feel disowned by God in their hour of need?

Even as God was delivering His Son into the world to redeem it, Mary and Joseph could have felt like God had abandoned them, wondering where He was in the midst of their obedience. ("God, in obedience to You, I agreed to carry this child," perhaps Mary was thinking. "Now is the time for me to give birth, and You won't even provide me with a clean place to have this baby? Really? You're going to make me do this in a stinky, dirty stable?") Yet, their Savior was right there with them, entering the world in the most humble of ways to save the people from their sins. On the dusty dirty floor of this stable was being birthed "good news of great joy that will be for all the people"!

Thank You, God, that you are accomplishing some of Your most redeeming work when You seem the farthest away. Thank You that even though at times it feels like You have abandoned us, You are right there, closer than the air we breathe.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Tracy. I really needed to read your last paragraph today. Thank you for reminding me that we don't know what God is doing "behind the scenes." Your entry today is a perfect reminder of Philipians 1:6 "that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

Love, Kerith

Katie said...

Thanks. I needed this.