by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro copyright 2020
Oct 22 to Jan 6 reflections from an upcoming book for tending hurting hearts at Christmas
To trust in the Lord with all your heart and not lean on your own understanding does not mean to squeeze eyes tightly shut because you are supposed to believe God will somehow change how things are. He might. But that is not the point of trusting in the Lord. And it does not mean kind of trying to force God to give you your will because you think you need it. Now! Because otherwise it hurts too much…(Awfully…) To trust in the Lord is to be aware of how things are and trust Him even if nothing changes. To trust that He is still there working through it.
How was it for Joseph or even Mary to find themselves in the circumstances in which they did as Mary went into labor for Christ to be born. Joseph had trusted God and brought Mary with him for the journey as the census demanded. God had allowed—even willed—for Mary to be this far along in her pregnancy at exactly this time.
God the Provider didn’t seem to be providing well for His Son who was King of kings. Joseph perhaps felt as if he were a loser or incompetent. Chosen to be earthly protector to the woman bearing the Son who was the Messiah, and foster father to Jesus, Joseph had obeyed to adhere to the mandated census. How was it possible that the only shelter available for them in response to this trust in God seemed so inadequate for any woman giving birth, and certainly insufficient and not honoring enough for this God-Child being born. Why did the birth need to come at this moment? In such circumstances? Yes, to Bethlehem to fulfill ancient prophecies. But like this???
Yet, was what God enabled inadequate? Had He failed to provide? Had He broken Joseph’s trust? Was this seemingly imperfect, lesser birth circumstance really less? Or was it exactly how God wanted it to be? The “how” of Jesus’ birth already setting the stage to reveal God’s love for how great it really is. A love already sacrificially manifesting. Focused on true priority which was not the manner of birth at all. The way God enabled Jesus’ birth is a demonstration that God’s priority is not what we aspire to as blessed comfort. It is not being exalted on any lesser, earthly throne. Such thrones do not represent His type of power anyway. God’s singular priority is fully loving us, where love is not a noun, but an action verb.
Lord, I still cannot fully fathom You. The total expanse of Your love remains beyond my mental grasp. Who would do what You have done? I take Your story so for granted. You came. You loved. You saved. But it was choice and there was cost. Thank You! The words are not enough. Thank you! Do You sense my heart seeking to give You more than these words say. King of kings and Lord of lords, if Your Spirit will continue to help, according to Your promises. I long for my life to be an ongoing offering for You to use for Your increased life in this world. And of course, in the world to come.
1…Fear not, for I have redeemed you [ransomed you by paying a price instead of leaving you captives]; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you.
18 Let no person deceive himself. If anyone among you supposes that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool [let him discard his worldly discernment and recognize himself as dull, stupid, and foolish, without true learning and scholarship], that he may become [really] wise.
19 For this world’s wisdom is foolishness (absurdity and stupidity) with God, for it is written, He lays hold of the wise in their [own] craftiness;
20 And again, The Lord knows the thoughts and reasonings of the [humanly] wise and recognizes how futile they are.
1 Corinthians 3:18-20
13 Now after they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, Get up! [Tenderly] take unto you the young Child and His mother and flee to Egypt; and remain there till I tell you [otherwise], for Herod intends to search for the Child in order to destroy Him.
14 And having risen, he took the Child and His mother by night and withdrew to Egypt
15 And remained there until Herod’s death. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, Out of Egypt have I called My Son.
SONG Recommended: NOT MY WILL BUT YOURS–Christmas Worship album
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