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December 25, 2022 Advent Reflection

December 25, 2022

When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him. Luke 2:39-40 MERRY CHRISTMAS! Perhaps you’re reading this Christmas morning during a lull, or later, when you have a chance to catch your breath. May Jesus draw you close in this moment, fill you with his peace, his love and the joy he has in drawing close to you. It’s Christmas morning. The stores are closed. Your presents are wrapped. The food for the feast is in the fridge. After a month of “I’ve got so much to do to get ready”, it’s here. Christmas. Maybe, if you’re like me, you’ve realized you forgot something (like the time I forgot to get anything for Trace’s stocking). And still, there’s nothing more we can do. It’s here. Ready or not. One thing we know for sure: this Christmas, not everything will go perfectly. Not everything will get the response or result we expect. The turkey or ham might cook too slowly; your big present for someone might miss the mark. You’ve done what you can. I’m confident, you’ll be surprised by God’s goodness, by moments of wonder and delight, comfort and peace as you make space to meet him. What a perfect picture of our life with Jesus! Jesus is here and his grace is at work for you. In the same way, this morning’s scripture is the perfect picture of how we live life with God:

When Joseph and Mary had done everything…..

Mary and Joseph did all they knew to do: they willingly and repeatedly said yes to God. Yes, I’ll carry Jesus. “Yes, I’ll take Mary as my wife even though she’s pregnant. Yes, we’ll trust the angel and get up and move to Egypt. Yes, we’ll return years later because God says it’s safe. "Yes." Yes, to God was their pattern to follow faithfully through-out their lives. Saying yes often looks like doing what you know to do and trusting God will use it. Even knowing that Jesus was no ordinary baby, Mary and Joseph continued faithfully doing what scripture taught, and brought Jesus to the temple for dedication. With a task they have no preparation for and little knowledge of what lies ahead, they do all they know to do. The rest is in God’s hands. And this is where our promise lies: do what we know to do and be confident that God is at work to bless. Mary and Joseph do what they know to do to honour God. And the result: “The child grew and became strong, he was filled with wisdom and the grace of God was on him. Grace is the favour of God which allows what God is doing to flourish and grow in our lives. Our part is doing what we understand honours God. What a great model for us! In the midst of uncertainty, the last few years have taught us that we can’t control what tomorrow may bring. But, we have this incredible sure and certain truth: Jesus - the one who saves is here. His grace is here for you. As Paul says in Romans 8:28, “In all things, (that’s ALL - good, bad and indifferent), God is working for good for those who love him.” In Mary and Joseph’s doing all they know how to do, God takes it and allows his purpose for Jesus to flourish. In our lives, as we do what we know to do to open ourselves to Jesus, God is working to allow his son to be glorified in our lives. Whatever the season, we press ahead, like Mary and Joseph, and do all we know how to do to follow, bless and honour Jesus. Take a moment. What do you know God is asking you to do already? “In my year ahead, you, God, are working for good.” “In my prayers, God, you are working to answer.” “In my challenges and uncertainty, God, you are working - even when I can’t see it” Like Paul said, after we’ve done everything, stand. (Ephesians 6:13 b). I think Paul was picturing someone in a battle, excited, anticipating. “I’ve done all I know to do. I’m in the position where I’m most able to see God do what only he can do.” That moment, it’s in your hands, God, glorifies him to you and to all around you. Jesus has come to you. This Christmas, He comes to heal and restore; To bring his peace; To widen our hearts with his love. And He comes to move in ways we have no explanation for. In response, this can be our prayer… “I’ll do what I can do and I look forward to seeing you move.” Merry Christmas, may Jesus bless you and yours this Christmas day and, even in unexpected ways, may he show you his glory.

Written by Drew Maxwell


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