daily devotional

We are one week away from Christmas. And just in case you’ve gotten wrapped up in the frinzy of shopping, spending, packaging and planning, and the one week countdown just stressed you out, let me remind you what we’re celebrating here. It is one week until the day of celebrating the birth of the savior of the world. He SAVED the WORLD, let’s try our best not to hate the world today.

Oh it’s easy to be consumed by the current hardships and struggles this year and declare our world as a lost cause that’s falling apart. No, this is the world Jesus came to save and you don’t save things that aren’t in trouble. We were a world in trouble over 2000 years ago and Jesus came to save it. We are a world in trouble today in 2020, and Jesus is here to save it. Refuse to hate that which Jesus died to save.

We anticipate December 25th because we know the beauty of waking up on Christmas morning. We know the sight of the presents under the tree. We know the sounds of the kids giggling and squealing with delight. We know the smells of delicious food cooking in the kitchen. It’s all just one week away.

I think about Mary right now. Mary, the unwed virgin who was one week away from her whole world changing. All she had gone through since the Angel came and told her she would bare the son of God. All the uncertainty. All the criticism. Oh the questions she must have had. Now here she is at the end of her pregnancy, preparing for birth and things get worse.

She and Joseph must travel 70 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem because of a census declared by Caesar. Traveling 70 miles on foot, or at best riding a donkey, while big and pregnant. NOT FAVORABLE.

This had already been hard for Mary, but now this. Taken from her home, forced to be without her family.

Sometimes things seem to get worse and we don’t understand why. Why is this happening to me? Why am I here?

What you do in uncertain times speaks of where your certainty is found. Mary was certain God was growing something within her. She was certain he had a plan for her. She was certain he would care for her and make a way.

And you know how the story goes … it comes time for Mary to give birth to Jesus and God had provided a world class hospital with the best of care for her there in Bethlehem. No? Oh, did he provide a nice couple in the town with a guest house for her to rest in? No? What did he do? He provided a stable.

Luke 2: 9 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

How could God have not better prepared for this? How could there be no room in the inn? Was he surprised by the birth of his own son Jesus? Did he not plan for a place for him? If God arranged this, was he somehow limited in his accommodations?

God, what’s the plan here?

It was all for a purpose. God knew exactly what he was doing and it was planned long before the seemingly unfortunate circumstances unfolded. There was a greater purpose in the hardship. Mary and Joseph had to be traveling because the son of God was to come from Bethlehem. God designed this destiny.

Will you trust there’s a greater purpose in your hardship? Will you trust even when the hard times get worse for a little while, there’s a designed destiny waiting ahead?

This will not be wasted. God knows exactly what he is doing.

God was in control the week before Jesus was born and pregnant Mary is heading directly to a town that wouldn’t even have a bed for her … and God is in control the week before Christmas when you are walking into stressful situations and less than perfect circumstances.

God, what’s the plan here?

Now isn’t the time for you to feak out.

Mary never freaked out. We never read of Mary flipping out on Joseph for taking her on some big roadtrip while she’s pregnant and not making reservations in advance. What do you mean you didn’t book a Holiday Inn in Bethlehem? Boy, what do you expect me to do right about now?!!!! I should have handled this vacation my own self!

No, it seems to me Mary met uncertainty with grace because of who she was absolutely certain in. After receiving the shocking news of a lifetime from the angel telling her about this miraculous and mysterious pregnancy she was about to have, she said in Luke 1:38 ““I am the Lord’s servant … May your word to me be fulfilled.”

This was all very uncertain, but she was certain of who her God was. She was certain if he said it would happen, it would happen. She was certain when there would be no place to stay, God would make a place to stay. She was certain he was in control even when things seemed to be spinning out of control.

One week before Jesus is going to be born and they’re away from home without reservations. One week from Christmas and you’re here in uncertain circumstances without a solution to fix it. God knew what he was doing then, and he knows what he’s doing now.

Will you trust him? Will you still be the Lord’s servant? Will you allow his word to you to be fulfilled? Will you keep a good attitude while you wait?

He has good plans for you. Those plans are to prosper you, not to harm you. Don’t freak out just because you can’t see how those plans are going to possibly work out.

Sometimes things look a little worse before we see the divine design. He can still be trusted here. God knows what he is doing and he is in every detail. Even when it’s the week before and it all seems to be getting worse.