God works all things together for the Good!
We have heard it quoted, and tossed around so often that it is easy to let the weight of that truth lessen and lessen.
It's a phrase found from Paul's letter to the Romans.
I think it is something that is proven true when we look at the Christmas story.
Do you remember the circumstances surrounding Mary and Joseph's trip to Bethlehem?
A tax collection. The Roman emperor wanted a census taken for tax purposes. Luke records every level of government being involved. More taxes upon an already oppressed people... just what Israel needed. What a wonderful time to celebrate.
“At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant. And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.”
-Luke 2:1-7 NLT
The strange thing is, that even though this was burdensome to an entire nation, specifically very burdensome to a young, poor carpenter from Galilee and his pregnant fiancée, God used it to bring about a number of fulfilled prophecies as well as bring Jesus to exactly where he needed to be born for a number of things to take place.
So the question then is... what circumstances do you find yourself in today? The ones that may not make any sense. The ones that may be hard, sad, and unprovoked.
How do you find yourself this Christmas/Advent season?
Perhaps not everything is going well right now, maybe you are scratching your head and wondering if God is really on your side?
Can I remind you of something?
Bethlehem wasn't a 5 star resort. Jesus understands hard times. He was born in a stable. He isn't apathetic to your needs or your problems.
Bethlehem was a very humble beginning. Jesus made himself low. He didn't come with power and might. He didn't come as a retributive force. He isn't angry with you.
Bethlehem was the last place you would expect God to make himself visible... and yet... there He was... in a manger, visible. He isn't absent.
May your hearts be like Bethlehem. May Jesus be welcomed into your life fully and completely. May he not be turned away, because your inn is full. May your life, and your circumstances become mist as you gaze upon the God in a feeding trough.