God's plan can get a little out of control

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas is out of control. Not the lights. Not the shopping. Not the children's scrolling list of what they want for Christmas, but the heart of Christmas is out of control.

Mary and Joseph were to be married in the little town of Nazareth. In its day, Nazareth was a small armpit of a town, much like the little towns you drive through and think "who lives here and why do they stay?" Then you blink and the town is gone. Even in small towns, dreams are big. No doubt even this couple had dreams for their future together: marriage, children, turning a house into a home, seeing their children grow, marry and have children of their own. Soon, though, and without their asking, their lives were out of control.

Mary was told by an angel that she would, without knowing a man, become pregnant with the Messiah. The Spirit of God overshadowed her, bringing life miraculously into the womb of this young girl.

It seems that in faith she took the news well. Joseph, on the other hand, took more convincing than just hearing the news from Mary. Like any man who discovered that his bride-to-be was pregnant, he was furious. He decided to be graceful and put her away quietly, sparing her the public shame and scrutiny of this unplanned pregnancy. It was beyond his control.

Joseph's story shows us that when life gets out of control, often we just need a new viewpoint. God spoke to him in a dream, and he began to understand what God was doing. The situation remained the same, but his view changed.

When life gets beyond our control, our first response needs to be to seek God's perspective and try to see the circumstances through God's eyes. Life gets out of our control, but it is never beyond God's. Dealing with this overwhelming circumstance Joseph needed to see what God was doing beyond his own eyes. He did not need God to get him out of this situation, but he needed God to get him through it.

Christmas is gloriously out of control.

Rob Hurtgen is a husband, father, minister and writer. Read more from him at www.robhurtgen.wordpress.com.

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