Alabama Gazette - The people's voice of reason

Seasonal Reasoning: Getting In The Corner

 

December 1, 2018 | View PDF



The uncertainty of the future is real for many. It’s been real since the fall from grace. The forbiddenness of the fruit. The realization of the bareness of ones self in the midst of The King. But wait, future? How can you even think of the the future if you’ve ignored the past?

Ignoring the past makes for an uncertain future.

Luke 2:19 “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

Can you imagine the relationship Mary must’ve had with God? In Luke 1:38 Mary spoke to the angel Gabriel in response to the future God had planned for her. “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

Luke 2:19 “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” So, in this moment of recognition and submission her past relationship with Christ came to fruition. She would follow the path for the future God had destined for her. She would bear The Christ Child because of her great faith in God the Father. His grace. His infinite grace and mercy fell upon her as she wed Joseph. I wonder. I wonder what it would have been like if Mary hadn’t bore the sweet baby boy? What it would’ve been like if Joseph decided to split. What it would’ve been like if Mary decided to hide this glorious gift, whether selfishly, because she didn’t have faith or out of shame?

Mary understood her destiny. She had great faith and she walked righteously along the narrowness of the winding path, whether it be to Bethlehem, the busy temple or to the foot of the cross.

Fast forward, oh ya know 2000 years or so. I have been so crazy in this season. This holiday season. This season of Christmas. Let’s think about the life of a woman during Christmas versus the life of a man! Women decorate, men do a chore or two on their honey do list. Men hunt(for fun I might add), women cook(because we must eat)! Women shop with intention. Intention to buy, intention to watch people, intention to enjoy the mall and the fast paced life of a manic shopper on Christmas Eve! Most men shop in misery and out of obligation. Women watch people and absorb the latest fads. Men watch football. Women clean in anticipation of future hostessing opportunities. Men, well they loathe dressing up for a dinner party (for the most part). Then there is the ever present duty of ‘churching it up’ during the Christmas season. The cute little Christmas plays where Joseph accidentally trips over the staff and knocks the live baby Jesus out of the manger. The crying. Oh, the incessant crying as the broken hearts of the little fellas whose mamas made them sing in the angel choir. Do screams of brattiness count as making a joyful noise?

Does this sound like a reality to you? Are you completely exhausted? Is the thing you look forward to the most during the Christmas season December 26th? Bah humbug! Has Christmas lost the luster it had when you were a child? Do you want it back? Do you want to hear the bells chiming again, as the angel gets her wings? There’s just too much to do and way too much to buy to enjoy any of it. I mean we still have to eat in January right!? I have found it so hard to enjoy the many things I long to enjoy. The tree, the shopping, the music, the family, the scripture. I can’t tell you how many December 26th’s I’ve awoken and thought, “can I just have a redo? I didn’t get to savor it.” Lord, I cry out to you! I desire to have these quiet moments! I desire to watch my children in awe of the magic of Christmas. In all fairness, I don’t deserve them though. I don’t deserve any of the gifts He has given me thus far, nor the ones I’ll receive in the future. My past hasn’t been that squeaky clean slate we strive for. Has anybody’s? Well, deemed worthy enough for a King anyways?

Luke 2:21-39

21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,you may now dismiss your servant in peace.30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” 36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.Shenever left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. 39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth.

I read this scripture the other day and it was like an epiphany from The Lord. “Wake up and get in the corner!” I long to be in the corner. I long to talk to Him. To be still. To just wait on Him. Simeon and Anna waited. They knew they would see the Christ Child in their lifetime. They knew they would see their Savior one day. Verse 25 tells us that the “The Holy Spirit was on Him,” in reference to Simeon. They were both old but able. They were devout followers of God. They were patient and above all else they had great faith. Faith in our God that He will deliver all of His promises. When Mary and Joesph entered the busy temple, the busiest place in its time, they weren’t recognized by the Pharisees. The Pharisees were too busy following the rituals of the law. They were busy waiting on their Messiah to come to redeem them than to see Him. So busy, they missed the blessing of the Lord in front of them. Not Simeon and Anna though. They immediately knew the Lord. Like the other followers, they weren’t lost in the mix of the crowd. Much like the malls we frequent in this busy season, the temple became a place of consumerism and obligation. The sacrifices never ended. The rituals never ceased and the people never realized the life they were missing because they were so caught up in doing everything for the Lord out of obligation. Relate that today. The shopping is never finished. The time to relish in the thought of knowing exactly what to gift someone is lost in that busy mall. It’s lost in the lack of time, the amount of money and sheer misery of buying out of obligation.

They followed the law of Moses. Jesus was circumcised and they left. The significance of the preverbal “shutting of the door” as they left the temple is astounding to me. How many times have we shut the door on a life altering blessing? Something that is so good and so important, yet we are so busy waiting on that exact blessing that we miss it! So we wait. Not really on the Lord, but on what He can do for us. Not really on how we can serve Him better, but how He can serve us and make our circumstance better. So I will make the same statement I made earlier, “Ignoring the past makes for an uncertain future.” Do we ignore the past of the Pharisees and what they missed? Do we ignore the past when it’s written plainly for us to read? If we don’t believe in God’s promises for our lives, those words He wrote for us to understand in The Bible, then we are essentially calling Him a liar. (Pretty sure no one wants to call God a liar, so quit ignoring the past!!) How do we not take those mistakes and make them right? How do we not understand that those things, in which we should’ve learned from, are blessings in and of themselves as well? So in this Christmas season, I challenge you to take the time to run to the corner. Run as fast as you can and wait. Wait patiently on Him. I assure you, He’s coming.

Matthew 24:44 “Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

 

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