Each week as people walk into church they are greeted by friendly people who hand them bulletins stuffed with announcements, prayer lists and cards. There may be anywhere up to five or six extra pieces of paper in these handouts.
These packets are assembled by some of my favorite people (some are pictured, but not all) – Church Elves who voluntarily come to our office all fifty-two Fridays, to give of their time in making possible our Sunday mornings. They laugh, cry, talk, tell their stories, rehearse their weeks, love one another, and even offer the preacher a few jokes for consideration.
One Friday as I quickly passed through the workroom, undetected I realized that one of these dear people was reading the coming Sunday morning quote from the bulletin to the others. It warmed my heart. Our Members and Visitors would be the beneficiaries of packets that were prepared in love.
As one reads through the Christmas narrative it is evident to see that a small group of people, many of whom were strangers to one another, who made their way to Bethlehem, did so without a clue that behind the scenes God had laid the groundwork.
Two Family Lines
A Census for the purpose of Taxation
An Overcrowded City
Unrelated? No. Random? I don’t think so.
Whenever life doesn’t make sense (which is often), my initial reaction is to get lost in thinking that God may have not thought through His plan carefully enough on my behalf. Sounds horrible, doesn’t it. But it’s true. My inability to see the end product can be maddening, and all those control issues surface in the ugliest of ways.
But where’s the fun in that? What I forget is that God has invited us into an adventure that involves mystery, suspense, the wild unknown… and Incarnation.
I think in terms of pieces fitting together in a moment – but God is always being born into my life, messily, mysteriously – and personally.
Unbeknownst to the players involved in the first Christmas, they were the beneficiaries of a redemptive story that had been prepared in love and designed in eternity.
God was coming.
Every Friday, through these amazing people, I am reminded that I don’t have to know how He makes it happen, but that God’s plan unfolds exactly as He has designed it.
Friends, what good news of great joy.