Christmas is a time to reflect on the ‘miraculous’…something happening outside of what we consider the normal interaction of things.  We live in a world that for every action there is a reaction.  And so many of those can be anticipated, pre-determined.  But miracles happen outside the normal.  They totally defy the natural.  Christmas is the greatest miracle of all.  God, the invisible force, the mover of the universe, enters the world of humanity as a human and shows us what the ultimate human being is supposed to be like. 

Every year we celebrate this greatest miracle of all.  Immanuel……God with us coming in the form of a vulnerable baby, resting in an animal shelter, the feed trough of animals.  The savior of mankind for a short time being nursed and cared for by humans. But, will ultimately be their savior. 

We sing about the miracle, pray about the miracle, write plays and movies about the miracle. Preachers talk about the miracle in one form or the other in every sermon. Throughout the world people care for others in the name of Jesus, fight for justice in the name of Jesus, promise to lead with the justice of Jesus.  We all, in some form or the other in seeking to live whole lives, long for that which the miracle of Christmas promises us.  “Peace on earth, good will toward mankind”. Indeed, God does care, He is aware, He has performed a miracle for us.

Christmas is the story of the greatest miracle having already come. But what miracle do you personally need today, this Christmas?  What is your heartfelt, gut wrenching longing that awakens you in the darkest of night and you feel your body trembling and quivering under the burden?  Do you dare believe in a miracle that will satisfy your greatest desire that is totally outside of your ability and resources to meet?  Do you dare to hope? 

The story of Jesus’ miraculous birth engulfs two human beings just like you and me. Joseph and Mary living their life, going about their everyday lives, engaged with a vision for home and family.  The recorded story gives us some initial facts: They are engaged and Mary is a virgin.  In the midst of their journey they both get a message at different times.  Mary is told she will become pregnant, but not by Joseph.  We are not told by whom Joseph gets the message, but it is not just a possibility…it is a fact…..Mary is already pregnant and as he knows, it is not by him.

We know Mary was told by the angel, Gabriel. We are not told how Joseph learns of this predicament.  Perhaps Mary has begun to show, perhaps a neighbor, or maybe even Mary tells him.  In this story both Joseph and Mary find themselves in a crisis of belief which presents a challenge. Will they trust God? Or will they, in their fear, devise and pursue their own solution to the problem. Mary could have said, “No!, I want no part of this. I’m getting married and this cannot be”. Joseph, although the law said he should have her publicly shamed and stoned, indeed was making plans to ‘call off the wedding and put her away quietly”.  But God sent them both a message, “I am at work here.  I have plans to save mankind from the great chaos now engulfing the world, and I offer you an opportunity to participate in it in a wonderful way”. Joseph had other plans and Mary asking, “How can this be?”  The unknown has potential to evoke fear as both were comforted, “Do not fear”.  Deep within they found the faith to believe God and proceed as the messenger  charged.  Joseph went through with the wedding and Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant”. How did things work out for Joseph and Mary. History reveals they are the most famous couple who ever lived, the parents of the most famous person  in all time and is himself the source of hope and compassion for all humanity.  What miracle do you need this Christmas?  Jesus said, ask………knock. He did not say ‘find’ because it is a given….you will find….or, the miracle will find you.  

Merry Christ-mass and Blessed New Year,