Do you ever get disappointed because your life isn't “picture perfect”? Well, I know God has a sense of humor because as I was sitting down to write this blog and began typing, I heard a noise. It's one of those noises you don't want to hear, but you know once the noise has started the full action accompanying the noise will most definitely come to fruition. So as I typed the words, “Not Quite Picture Perfect,” I heard the noise of my little dog Lexi getting sick. Yep, this sweet little dog got sick literally as I typed “Perfect.” Isn't that how life is? I love that God not only lets me write these blogs, but that He also makes sure that I am understanding what I am writing.
Today is Day 2 in our journey through Luke, and as I read Luke 2 I was taken back to all the times I've read this passage before. I thought about all the live nativities and Christmas Eve services where I've learned and experienced this passage.
However, being 71/2 months pregnant this season, I can't help but think about Mary in a new light. I really can't imagine being 9 months pregnant and riding on a donkey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. I can barely ride in the car long enough to get to and from work. I can't imagine being in a strange place for the last couple days leading up to the birth. And I definitely don't even want to imagine what it would be like to give birth in a barn or cave with all the sights, sounds and smells of the animals surrounding me. Add to that, the fact that Mary is still a virgin, carrying the baby of someone other than the man she is engaged to, and you get a story that is definitely less than picture perfect.
But isn't that comforting? Isn't it great to know that our Savior's birth was so normal. I look at this scene, and I can relate to parts of it. And I love it! I love that he didn't have a fairy tale birth in a palace because I can't relate to that. Instead, Mary and Joseph were just living very normal lives and in the middle of the normal, our Savior came.
A few months ago, a friend of mine gave birth. When I talked to her for the first time she told me many, many details about her labor that I will not share here. Smile. She went into detail about the pain and the length of the labor and all the details that would frighten anyone, but especially someone who is pregnant and knows that in a few months I'll be the one experiencing the pain. But when she got to the end of her horrifying story, she said, “But then they bring you your little baby, and when you see that little face and hold that baby in your arms you think, ‘I wouldn't care if they ripped my arm off right now. It's all worth it for you.'” I told my mom this story, and she said she felt the exact same way about holding each of her children for the first time.
And as I read through Luke 2 and I got to verse 19, I wondered if this is was the same feeling Mary was having when Luke says, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Again in verse 51 it says, “But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.” I wonder if Mary made it through her crazy delivery in the stable because she knew she was delivering the Son of God. And I wonder if everything seemed to be perfect as she held Baby Jesus in her arms for the first time.
Our lives will never be picture perfect. We will have lots of ups and downs along the way. We'll have lots of messes in our lives. Sometimes we may feel like we're living in the stable with the messy, smelly animals, but in the midst of all that is messy in our lives, our Savior can come.
He isn't afraid to come into your life when things are at their worst. He entered the world as a baby in the lowliest manner. And that is why I love Him. He is able and willing to meet me right where I am, messy life or not. And He alone can give me the peace in the midst of the mess that calms my souls and gives me hope.
I pray today that you accept the peace that Jesus is offering. This isn't a promise of peace that everything will be fine, but rather a “peace that passes all understanding” that in the midst of the mess, He is there and He is still on the throne.
I'd love to hear what jumped out at you as you read through Luke 2 today. And if you have someone who you would like to join you in your Christmas Journey through Luke be sure to pass along this blog to them. I can't wait to see What God has for us to learn in chapter 3.
Peace be with you!