From the womb: the birth of hope

The story of the Wise Men shows us that the nations have been invited to this salvation party.

God gave the wise men a direction, not all of the details on how to get there. He does the same with us. They did not know everything there was to know about this baby King, Jesus, or what he would do... yet they bowed and worshipped Jesus and gave him what they had. That's amazing. By the time they got there, he was two years old or younger. What had he done? He was probably just learning to talk and walk. Yet they bowed. We usually need a lot more convincing and guarantees of comfort before we bow and worship, don't we?


Think about how demanding we are. We want things in our church, our home, or on social media to go exactly OUR WAY. We deserve it, right? Sometimes we demand it. Sometimes we appear passive about it, but if we're honest, it's PASSIVE AGRESSIVE.


Given our track record, we should be the least demanding of people, especially as Christians. Instead of demanding, we should understand what Jesus as King demands of us! If Jesus is King, he deserves far more than what we are probably giving. Ponder and treasure Jesus in the next few days.


Luke 2:19, "Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart."

Read and ponder on Luke 2 today. Jesus grew in Mary’s womb while countless around her continued with life as usual. While she treasured and pondered, the world was unaware that God was about to enter human history. How many weeks and months did fear, shame, confusion and neighbors’ scorn flood her thoughts and shatter her heart? How many nights of sleep did she lose unsure of her future before the angel arrived and said, “Fear not…”

Mary was given a revelation. This revelation carried her through her pregnancy and comforted her in the days before Joseph returned to recommit to marry her. Revelation led her to visit her previously barren (now miraculously pregnant) older cousin’s house to wonder, hope, rejoice, and ponder.

Ponder. This is what an unsure, hope-filled, sober minded young woman does when she is wide awake to the consequences unfolding around her life. She treasures the revelation. She holds onto it. She turns it over again and again in her heart and mind while she waits to see what is coming. She fills her days contemplating the mystery of God’s favor and promise. One can only imagine the moments of grief and shame that Mary felt as family doubted her or neighbors mocked her. Even before birth, Jesus was incubated in a body that experienced grief, loss, and pain of a broken world. And yet…we are told Mary rejoiced. And she rejoiced because she had received a revelation. She pondered, considered, treasured. These acts don’t eliminate the uncertainty around the path ahead, but they empower courage to move forward without fear.


And courage would be needed to birth and raise this divine child. Jesus was going to enter a world that was ruled by an oppressive murderous empire, where plagues created villages of outcasts and families had to flee to other nations to protect their children’s lives. This is the world God’s people were longing for a deliverer. And yet….while that deliverer grew in Mary, the masses around her didn’t know that their hope was being knit together in her womb. They shuffled through their lives unaware that God would soon enter the world as an infant.


We tend to imagine ourselves as one of the main characters in the Christmas story and yet we move through our days like the oblivious masses. We want redemption, but live unaware of the miracles unfolding in our midst. The moment of Christ’s birth did not connect all the dots or make sense of all the violence or fully unfold the climax of the story. And yet, it was the first sign that the long anticipated moment had begun. “God with us” was arriving on the scene. But true to the nature of hope, it was only a beginning, a sign of what was to come. Christ’s birth became the most important turn of events in a several thousand year long story. Let’s receive again revelation of God’s holy wonder and tune into the every day miracles incubating all around us. Let’s ponder and treasure along with Mary. Ponder the reality that God dwelt among us and in-dwells in humanity. Anticipate the gift that is this life and the heavenly reality Christ invites us to enter—today and for all eternity.

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