Thursday, December 25, 2008

God's Unwrapping for Christmas

Christmas Day. What was it really like on the first Christmas?

Do you ever wonder what Mary was thinking? After the Angel gave her the announcement that she was to birth the long anticipated Messiah of the Jewish people, do you think that she expected it to look the way it did?

Even the ones who got the announcement were the most unlikely receivers to the message of Jesus birth. The shepherds in Jesus day were considered the “disenfranchised” of our day. They were often criminals, homeless, estranged from family, unable to do anything else. Let’s just put it this way, becoming a shepherd was not what every Jewish parent longed for their child to become.

So, back to Mary. As she sat there, realizing how alone she was, and how “regular” Jesus’ birth was, did she get discouraged or did she understand that God often does his best work in secret?

God has this unique way of keeping his best work secret until it’s his timing to let the world know about it. Sometimes that includes us as he is working to prepare us for his “purpose in us to be fulfilled.” I didn’t have any idea when I was in college that I would end up becoming a pastor and that this calling would fulfill my deepest dreams above all else. I didn’t expect to be planting Missio Lux either; another surprise opened up to me in God’s specific timing!

He has this plan for you too.

How many times have you thought that your life is ordinary and your purpose is unexciting and unfulfilling.
How many times have you gotten up with the expectation that you just want to get through this day?
It’s easy to go there when life begins to feel ordinary and hard to remember that God’s specific purpose for us in anything but ordinary, it’s extraordinary and will change the world.

God is always ready to do this part, but what is our part?

Are we asking him, “What did you create me to do?” and believing that he has answer?
Are we going about our days watching for the God surprises and thanking him when we see one?
Are we in a community of people that is encouraging us to “go for it”
Are we willing to tell people what God is doing, even if it feels scary or prideful or humbling?
Are we willing to make the adjustments that come with receiving a “revelation of his purpose?”

2009 is fast approaching. New Year’s is one of the best points in the calendar to make adjustments in our lives, those resolutions can literally change our life direction if we keep unwrapping God’s gift to us by living into the questions above.

I urge you to take some time between today and New Year’s Day to reflect upon that dream that you have either buried or are keeping on life supports. Ask the Lord to bring it back to life and then begin to live each day with the expectancy that God has given you a unique dream and that 2009 will be a significant year as it begins to unwrap and become reality in your life.

Phil 2:13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

Keep watching and standing on this promise in Philippians, he is acting on what he has already decided to bring forth his good purpose, his unique and amazing, purpose in you!

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