It’s intriguing isn’t it? We admonish one another to honor ‘Christ’ in Christmas but do we really honor all of the aspects of the Christmas story? Before you quickly agree let me remind you of a few details …
Did you ever notice how Mary came to bear the Christ Child? She encountered an angel who spoke to her with the authority of God and in the blink of an eye she was pregnant. And then there’s Joseph who wanted to send Mary away secretly, but instead encountered God in a dream. After he awakened he changed his plans and took Mary as his wife.
Did you ever notice that as we read these Scriptures aloud to one another, our voices rise and fall in all the right places as we describe how Mary was nearly divorced because God interrupted her quiet life. Really. She was just minding her own business. And then wham! She’s thinking about maternity clothes. There’s no telling the amount of fracas that Joseph caused by taking Mary as his wife. It just wasn’t done. But! Each of them had an experience that radically shaped their destiny. They yielded to the Godhead and trusted Him for the outcome. Were they close enough to share with one another the nature of their encounters?
“So, um, Joseph … I’ve been meaning to tell you that I ran into an angel sent from God the other day. Joseph, are you listening to me?”
“Mary. Uh, I’ve got to talk to you. I had this dream, you see…We’ve got to leave Bethlehem tonight and cross the border. I know the little guy is only ten days old. And I haven’t forgotten that we came here with you so close to giving birth … on a donkey. Really, I’m sorry about all this. It’s God again. We’ve got to go.”
Time and space won’t permit me to review all of the supernatural encounters which are associated with Jesus’ birth. Zacharias, Elizabeth, the shepherds, and the magi. Oddly enough, the wicked ruler Herod got his information through the enquiring magi, not through a dream.
I marvel that, in current times, we seem to have outgrown our ability to be led by dreams or supernatural moments with God. Why is that, I wonder? Are dreams just for wee children? I wonder what Zacharias would say? He was an old Jewish priest who encountered an angel in the temple, and became mute when he questioned the birth of his son so late in life.
Just on the cusp of a new year I would challenge you to a year full of faith-filled dreams and moments with God. Ask Him to speak with you, to lead you by dreams … with His thoughts, His words. A year of life led by God Himself. It’s risky, but so filled with wonder and awe. He has great ideas!
It’s been a few years since I’ve worked with men and women to help them find emotional freedom, but it’s during this time of year when I would see the telltale signs of things unraveling for friends and loved ones. I so wish they could see themselves as a very lovely, intricate package of physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual aspects which requires a safe and healthy climate in which to thrive. It’s sometimes challenging for me to observe a loved one reaching out for help when they cannot yet understand the mystery of their own heart.
Friend you don’t realize that you carry unresolved anger but you are frequently ill or on edge. You don’t perceive that you are grieving a loss but you can’t seem to get past the mid-80’s when that happened. You build walls of excuses around yourself until that wall closes you off from everyone in your life. Hopelessness consumes you, but you do not stop the process, and set things right for yourself.
Life is swirly. All the experiences that we have in a day or a year affect our lives in multiple ways: circumstances out of our control, feeling invisible, feeling rejected by a friend, ongoing disagreement with a loved-one, never fitting in. If we don’t learn how to express how we feel we eventually become a walking timebomb of toxic thoughts and feelings; these result in ended relationships, chronic illness, depression, college drop-out, broken marriages, unemployment, and homelessness.
As the Christmas holiday rolls in, make a commitment to know yourself. Find a friend that you can trust, with whom you can explore the beautiful mystery of you. It might take from now until next Christmas before you laugh again but you will not regret it. Allow your Heavenly Father to unveil the mysteries of Himself in this process as well. You might be surprised to find that He was there all the time…through the good, the bad, and the ugly. But most of all you will be able to embrace each holiday with laughter and thanksgiving. What a gift to give to yourself! Hope, Laughter, Joy, and Love!