On The Road To Bethlehem: Against The Flow

flowJohn 1:10 “He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him.”

No one could ever accuse Jesus of maintaining the status quo….

From the outset of his birth…the long-expected Messiah came to the world in the most unexpected of ways. The smelly cow’s stall, the lowly manger, the swaddling clothes barely wrapping his newborn body, the humble audience who received him—all were eons away from what one would anticipate for the birth of the King and Savior of all men.

His life and death were just as shocking. His complete abandonment to God, his miracles, and his message of forgiveness rocked the religious establishment. He overturned “tables” of all kinds. The cross, although foreseen by the prophets, broke the power of evil’s darkness just at the moment when it looked like all was lost. As one lyricist puts it, “It was a strange way to save the world.”

But save us he did. And he remains in the business of shaking up our positions of shallow comfort and false security. He wants to upset our apple carts from time to time lest we enter into a gradual state of spiritual entropy…that place of watered-down passion where the light purposed to “shine before all men” barely flickers.

Certainly those God chose to entrust with his Son’s birth displayed a willingness to abandon the status quo. Virgin births weren’t common in those days. And I can’t help but think of Mary’s response after riding hours “great with child” on a donkey only to reach their destination to find there was no “grand intervention” of provision for the night. Status quo thinking would have reasoned since she had so radically obeyed the will of God that he would have come through at least with a room. But nothing in scripture indicates Jesus was born to a disappointed, disillusioned mother. No way. She wasn’t a status quo thinker. She was a lover…of God.

So where are you this season on the road to Bethlehem? Has God been turning over some of your tables? Have you been disappointed that he hasn’t met some expectations? Have the challenges you’ve faced seemed to have resulted in more trials?

May you and I escape status quo mentality. May God look on us and deem us vessels to which he can entrust the radical, unorthodox, sweeping nature of his Son.

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