A WAY IN A MANGER

I can’t help but think of Mary this time of year. Maybe it’s because I’m a girl. Or a mom. Or a wife. Or a daughter.

Or a person confused and stretched by all the roles I play. So many assignments.

But I have a pet peeve. When I hear people say “baby Jesus in the manger”..it bugs me. Because, to me, the word “baby” connotes weakness….dependence….helplessness. To me, that’s not what was in the manger.

I mean…I get it. He came as a babe. Wrapped in swaddling clothes. On a holy mission to save the world.

That sends chills up my spine. Don’t let it get old.

Anyway….Mary.

So she’s young and engaged. Ready for a new season of life and then….{from luke 2}

“Greetings, favored one, the Lord is with you!”

Oh my. Mary was troubled.

“Do not be afraid Mary”

>how does he know??

“You have found favor with God.”

>well…good….

“you will conceive in your womb and bear a son…

and you shall call his name JESUS.”

>Wait. What???

“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.”

>Oh my.

“And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

I’m assuming she could only whisper at this point…but it was a profound question…though human and simple…

‘How can this be?’

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you…”

>>>so y’all get this, right? it’s not just a sweet story. this really happened.

{unwrap faith gift here}

Mary was really a girl (a VERY YOUNG girl) and she really was a virgin…and she really was totally caught off guard by this. and her response….her response is what gives me hope. it inspires every ounce of who I am.

The power of the Most High indeed came over her. The Holy Spirit was UPON her. And she said……..

“…let it be to me according to your word.”

And the angel departed. Because why? Because dang it…Mary got it. The mission imparted to her soul….and her response revealed it.

She RECEIVED the calling. She saw her place “I am the servant of the Lord.” And she chose to walk in it. In obedience.

She didn’t offer Him a better plan. (’cause I totally would have…)

But wait….wasn’t this going to mess with her plan??? I mean…she was going to get married!! To precious Joseph. He loved God after all!! And they were going to live happily ever after! Sure, they wanted kids…but down the road. When they had money saved and plans in place and lived close to relatives and…………..not now. This wasn’t her plan.

But she said….

“I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

I LONG for that to be the cry of my heart. I do. But dadgummit I struggle. I really do. So many things have been thrown at me. I don’t see the angel. I don’t hear it. I just hear the opposition. The way that things are NOT going according to my plan. And my heart is SO FAR from saying “let it be to me according to your will, Lord.”

Let it be.

Oh Lord. Help me let it be. I want what you want. I really do. Down deep. Stir it up Lord.

But my flesh goes… “REALLY God?? I mean… you sure did ask a LOT of Mary (like everything)…and some days I feel like you just really ask a LOT of me and…well…there’s just no way I can do it. Especially with a grateful heart and all that joyful soul business you tell us about.”

There is a way.

>Oh yeah.

THAT is what came in the manger. A way. A way to wrap your head around that kind of attitude. The “YES LORD” attitude when things make NO SENSE and God asks for ALL YOUR PLANS in surrender to His.

He sent a way.

The way. Straight through this world we live in. He has the scars to prove it.

{maybe you do too? got some scars?}

And He sent the truth. the bold truth. the truth that stings and changes and converts and SAVES.

and the LIFE. the life I wouldn’t trade for anything else. his life. He sent it all. he gave it all. So we could know the babe in the manger.

no one comes to the Father…but by Him. The babe in the manger. The one on a holy assignment to save the world.

The one who Mary got to join.  To carry. To nourish. To birth. Wow. She had her own holy assignment, to be sure.

Know what?? So do you.

It may be changing diapers. It may be choosing paint colors. It may be teaching the answer to 2+2. Over and over. Or spelling. It may be teaching spelling. Or finances. Or chemistry. Or…it may be serving dinner. It may be loving your co-workers. The ugly ones. It may be folding t-shirts. The same white t-shirts you’ve folded over and over for years…

None of that is insignificant. It’s your holy assignment.

No, you’re not carrying the Lord almighty in your womb.

But you’re a steward of His truth in your soul. And everything you do is a reflection of it. Don’t complicate it. In Christ, you’re a highly favored one. He dispenses grace to help with the laundry, with dinner, with diapers, with work. With your holy assignment. The Most High overshadows you; the Holy Spirit has come upon you.

There’s a Way in a Manger. He was born. He died. He rose. He reigns. He is coming back. Soon.

He is radically at work. In you.

Let’s join Mary in praying…

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in god my Savior…for he who is mighty has done great things for me…and HOLY is His name.”

Proclaim that this holiday season.

There’s a way. In a manger.

A holy assignment. For you.

Walk in it.

Whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God. John 3:21