The two sides of my personality are wrestling with each other lately. The "j" side that wants a routine and organization vs. the "p" side that wants to buck the system and wants to have nothing to do with the "j" side. I actually felt like I "should" write last night because that was the thing to do...it is what I committed myself to and the like...but I was too tired and needed to get some rest. And so the "p" side won out - and seems to win more and more in my life. I'm okay with that. As some one that has always been so driven by tasks and the need to get them accomplished....learning to lay low, to back off and to enjoy the ride and the relationships that come along with it is part of my growth. So, it's good to know that I am growing even if to my "strict, critical adult" that speaks up now and then tells me I am regressing. Hey, I never got to be that reckless, irresponsible teenager - maybe it is about time!
Okay, but now on to the last two readings.
Readings: Luke 1(announcement to both Zechariah and Mary about their respective impossible babies they would soon have) and Jeremiah 32:17 - nothing is impossible with God
Theme Question: Why do you think God delights in doing the impossible?
Reading: Matthew 2:1-12 The Nativity scene...the visit of the kings/wise me and what the scene might have looked like.
Theme Questions: What do you think it would have been like to be in the middle of this nativity scene? What stance do you think you would have taken?
My take: I go right back to where I started this journey of advent 16 days ago....that God LOVES to do the loco things among us.
As I think about the first question from yesterday, I think about the upcoming day that the kids will open the presents I have purchased for them. I am SOOO excited about what I have found for them...I don't know if I have ever been so excited about giving any one gifts. This is not my "love language", but as I think about them and their unique loves and likes - I feel like I really nailed the gifts this year. I might have gone over board, but I don't care. I know I quite potentially could be more excited about their presents than they might be...and again I really don't care. I just know the joy I had in finding them and will soon have in wrapping them and then seeing them open them.
Not that my present-giving this year is the "impossible" that the question is asking me to think about - but it is how my human mind can wrap around an omnipotent God and why He might delight in doing the impossible. He LOVES to give us good gifts, to knock our socks off, to - pardon my French- "shock the hell out of us". If He did the possible, he wouldn't get the reaction like these previous statements, right? So He has to go above and beyond...because He can. Because He wants us to know how much He treasures us and how much he wants to be with us. He loves the "mission impossible" put before Him in order to turn around and solve that "mission impossible" in the most creative, unique and unimaginable way possible.
I know for me this is what I LOVED about working events. When surprising, unexpected occurrences turned up during the event...which they always did...I loved taking a step back and seeing what creative way I could solve the "problem". The pressure often made me think better, crazily enough.
Even Jesus did this on earth. The Pharisees, the Roman officials, even the crowds that surrounded him would "back him into a corner" with their persistent questions and challenges. Yet, Jesus would often take that extra moment to "bend down and write in the sand"...to collect his thoughts and then come out with a response that would "knock their socks off", turn their thinking upside down...set out to do the impossible.
He still does this today...and I am so grateful and thankful that He has done this for me yet again even since this weekend. While I know my road of recovery is far from being over...He has given me impossible hope in these last few days...that is all I can describe what I know cling to - impossible Hope.
I leave you today with words from Max Lucado's book God Came Near that I mentioned a few days ago. They are from the chapter "Out of the Carpentry Shop" where he sets the stage of Jesus' last time walking around the place where he could have spent the rest of his life, living comfortably, raising a family, being involved in civic issues right there in his home town. I pray you read these words and really think about the Impossible Mission Jesus came to do for you, for me, for your family and friends. And I pray you wonder at the AWE of it all, of the WHY of it all...
I wonder because I know he had already read the last chapter. He knew that the feet that would step out of the safe shadow of the carpentry shop would not rest until they'd been pierced and placed on a Roman cross.
You see, he didn't have to go. He had a choice. He could have stayed. He could have kept his mouth shut. He could have ignored the call or at least postponed it. And had he chosen to stay, who would've known? Who would have blamed him?
He could have come back when crosses were out of style.
But his heart wouldn't let him. If there was hesitation on the part of his humanity, it was overcome by the compassion of his divinity. His divinity heard the voices. His divinity heard the hopeless cries of the poor, the bitter accusations of the abandoned, the dangling despair of the those who are trying to save themselves.
And his divinity saw the faces. Some wrinkled. Some weeping. Some hidden behind veils. Some obscured by fear. Some earnest with searching. Some blank with boredom. From the face of Adam to the face of the infant born somewhere in the world as you read these words, he saw them all.
And you can be sure of one thing. Among the voices that found their way into that carpentry shop in Nazareth was your voice. Your silent prayers uttered on tearstained pillows were heard before they were said. Your deepest questions about death and eternity were answered before they were asked. And your direst need, your need for a Savior, was met before you ever sinned.
And not only did he hear you, he saw you. He saw your face aglow the hour you first knew him. He saw your face in shame the hour you first fell. The same face that looked back at you from this morning's mirror, looked at him. And it was enough to kill him.
He left because of you.
He laid his security down with his hammer. He hung tranquility on the peg with his nail apron. He closed the window shutters on the sunshine of his youth and locked the door on the comfort and ease of anonymity.
Since he could bear your sins more easily than he could bear the thought of your hopelessness, he chose to leave.
It wasn't easy. Leaving the carpentry shop never has been.