Janelle Alberts writes pithy Bible synopses and is a regular contributor to Christianity Today's Gifted for Leadership. For more on Alberts visit janellealberts.wordpress.com.
You don’t have to watch many Real Housewives reunions to know that too much of a good thing can be a problem. Case in point: wine, and the fact that these women might fight less if they all stopped drinking so much.
That revelation puts panic in my system because I love me a good Chardonnay.
All of which has me reconsidering Jesus’ first miracle of turning water into wine. It’s a curious first move, no?
If my fifth grade son were writing a book report on the matter, he’d have to mention that the very substantive Jesus character puts His first miracle muscle behind…a party. Isn’t that odd? My 11 year-old dodges these book report chats with me by using this line, “We don’t have to get it mom; we just have to report it.”
For moms, therein lies the rub.
We are not reporters. Our job is to actually get stuff, so we can pass it on to our littles. Isn’t it just like God to throw in a miracle that a mom first has to get and then pass on to…herself.
Reason #1 Jesus’ first miracle was for MOMS: Too much of a good thing was always a problem; Jesus made wine anyway.
We moms stink at nuance. If one thing needs ousting, we tend to toss…it all! If one thing needs reconsideration, we tend to reevaluate…it all!
“It all” is a problem for us.
We often function less like free-in-Jesus believers and more like moral lawyers who wrestle a good gift from God down to formulaic submission. Then along comes Jesus who shoves a miracle like this right in our faces. He leaves us no choice but to break up a bit with the legalism in all of us.
Like a pal of mine, who once said to me, as a way to play down the actual winemaking in Jesus’ first miracle, “You know they drank wine only because water back then was so bad.”
Okaaaay, but Jesus didn’t decide then to turn water into better water. The wine? It was on purpose. Jesus was not a guy known for imprecision.
True, it wasn’t for everybody, like John the Baptist who never “took wine or strong drink,” (advice Real Housewives cast members could take to heart).
However, wine was for some, like Timothy, whom Paul told to “Stop drinking only water and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illness.” (Luke 1:15, 1 Timothy 5:23). Beyond that, it was for lots of wonderful times to be had by all. Like at a wedding.
Reason #2 Jesus’ first miracle was for MOMS: It wasn’t to numb a problem; it was to continue a celebration.
Jesus’ first miracle applauds celebration - laughter, love, saved-the-best-for-last kind of celebration and joy.
Which should be an easy thing for moms to wrap our heads around since what got us the title of “Momma” in the first place starts with “bundle of” and concludes with joy, joy, JOY.
The fact of the matter is that the needs and wants of our cherubs can be mind numbingly repetitive and heart seizing erratic at the same time. Also, there are breakfast dishes. Also, client meetings conflict with track meets, and contemporaries run businesses better than us and run marathons more than us and also, bake.
We’re told the “joy of the Lord is our strength.” If joy is what reinforces our strength, then the source from whence joy originates better not be another something we moms need to drum up ourselves. A girl can only do so much through act of will.
Nobody gets that clearer than Jesus. So much so that when He started His whole ministry with a nod towards celebration, He took it upon Himself to bring to the table a concrete contribution to make that happen.
So, if the Real Housewives franchise shines a light on over imbibing as the enemy of civil discourse, so too does an inaugural wine miracle shine a light on the importance of celebration to the God of Scriptures - and His willingness to do something about it.
We moms are soldiering through best as we can. It’s nice to know from Jesus’ first miracle that we need not wear a refrain-from-fun face (since, turns out, stoicism does not solve what we think). At the same time, we are not pressured to fake happiness. Life with God is not for sissies. We get it.
Despite that, maybe in light of that, celebration matters to this God. So much so, that He kicked off His ministry on earth letting the world know He’s the kind of God who brings to the table something worth celebrating.
That’s a book report character that a mom can get behind. That, plus, when invited to a wedding at 30ish years on, who did Jesus ask to come with Him?
His momma. Good on you, Jesus. Good on you.
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Janelle Alberts writes pithy pieces that usually feature a bit of Scripture you've never heard, but wish you had. Knowing things like even Noah got tipsy & embarrassed his kids can help a girl rally to the end of the day. She is a regular contributor to Christianity Today's Gifted for Leadership. Find out more about Alberts here.