Christmas is the story of miracles

Friday, December 24, 2004

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

--Jeremiah 29:11-13

Christmas -- a story of poor shepherds who babbled their news that a king-baby was lying in a Bethlehem manger.

It's the story of wise men who traveled far and spared no expense to follow a star.

It's the story of a virgin girl who believed and received God's gift to the world.

And it's the story of God, the loving father who gave his son to save sinful us.

There's another figure in the nativity scene.

He's the busy, broken figure in the background behind Mary, and who's quietly, lovingly listening to God and taking care of the virgin mother and the baby. He's the man whose dreams were shattered when he learned that the girl of his dreams was pregnant. He's the man who was willing to look like a fool to his family, friends, neighbors and, yes, the religious folks and intellectuals to raise a son who wasn't his own.

The angel could have said to him, "The good news is you get to raise God's son. The bad news is you're going to be thought a fool by a lot of folks, and it's not always going to be easy."

I like Joseph because he wouldn't quit dreaming and he wouldn't quit. He gave up his conventional dreams for God's supernatural dreams that saved the family and brought the rest of us into God's family.

I like Joseph because he's like a lot of us. Life isn't what we planned. Many of us have dreams that haven't happened, and some of us have even been broken. Around us there are children who don't dream very big because no one's encouraging and equipping them to live a happy life. There are adults who've failed and stopped dreaming. We're in a lot of stages of brokenness, and there are a lot of big and little ways that we need fixing.

I think God does a lot of "fixing" us as we give him our lives and embrace his dreams. I've seen "fixing" that's a process and "fixing" that's instantaneous. I don't always understand, but I know it's God.

God forgives everyone who sincerely repents, and we must forgive ourselves for mistakes we've made. Then he expects us to dream with him and begin again. God has an awesome plan for our lives. He wants us to embrace him because he loves us more than we can imagine, and then he wants us, like Joseph, to expect his goodness, trust him, and labor to make our lives meaningful.

The Christmas story is a far-fetched one about a miraculous birth in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago, and it's the far-fetched story of our miraculous opportunity to get born again into God's family.

The true story of Christmas ends with unwritten questions: "Do you believe in Jesus Christ as God's son, and are you willing to give him your life? Will you accept his dreams for your life?" The miracle of the Christmas story is God's birth as savior of the world and our birth into his family when we believe in him for our salvation.

June Seabaugh is a member of Christ Church of the Heartland in Cape Girardeau.

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