Journeying in Peace This Advent (Week Four)

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There are a lot of messes in the Bible narrative.  Have you ever considered that?  Things are rarely tidy and wrapped up with a nice bow at the end of a story in the Bible–not like those cheesy television specials in the 80’s.  The Bible is full of enough violence, sorrow, betrayal, confusion and redemption to be good for us.  Excellent Prime Time material.

Peace in Advent

It strikes me that God is not in the least intimidated by mankind’s chaos.  During the twists and turns of life, God remains the Prince of Peace.  Although the Bible is clear that He is not the author of confusion, God is also not wringing His hands over what to do about mankind’s confusion.  In the mess, in the dark, in the unknown–He is the peace, the light, the revealed.

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.  (Mathew 1:18-25)

This is the story of Peace breaking into chaos, of man’s plan gone awry, and God showing He is in control.

Mary was teenager found pregnant before she had come together with Joseph.  It was scandalous and she could have been stoned to death.

Joseph had to learn that there was a much bigger story going on in the universe than his own personal plans.  Think of it this way…  Joseph’s Plan “A” –  Get married to a beautiful young girl who has remained pure just for him.  Have children.  Work hard and live happily ever after.

Joseph had to learn God was in control.  Joseph’s Plan “B” – “I can’t marry this girl now that she is pregnant with another man’s child.  But I love her still so I won’t add to her shame.  I will send her away quietly.”  God had another plan.  He sends the angel as a messenger giving Joseph instructions and encouragement to take Mary home as his wife.  Joseph was not even allowed to name his son!  The angel told Joseph to name the child, Jesus.  Joseph takes us to the heart of the message of the Christian life.  He gave up his plans to follow God’s and in surrendering his plans, he found Life.

Our plan B or C or D is often the Father’s plan A.  For the Father’s plan A is to reveal to you His Son and in the process conform you to His image.  His goal is to restore to you Eden–where you were fashioned in His likeness and enjoyed unbroken fellowship with the Trinity.  The process in restoring Eden though, involved some bruising. The serpent’s head.  And a heel. A reputation. And a lot of expectations.

Rest in this, dear ones, in giving up our plans to follow God’s and in surrendering to His plans, we will find our very lives.

In this final week of Advent, as we prepare for the Jesus’ arrival, the hope of our redemption drawing near–cling to the Prince of Peace.  Jesus-incarnate.  God’s plan A.

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