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An After-Christmas devotion

Joseph and Mary on their journey to Bethlehem

The holidays create a different mix of historical feelings and nostalgia for different people. If you are like me, there are both wonderful feelings surrounding this time of year, memories that bring back some kind of exalted experience, and other feelings of loneliness and hopelessness.

The truth about these holidays, however, is that they will come and go. Certain things remain the same. This is true for so much of life, as much as we want to hold on to certain feelings, a certain way of living, we realize that we, try as we might, have no control over this thing called life.

As I read the story of Mary and Joseph, their life and experience especially comforted me. It reminded me, no matter how uncertain and disorganized my life is right now, this is the typical experience for the Christ follower. All the things that look nice and tidy may not be “God” as people like to think. And we do like to think this…that the people and lives, and the jobs, and the ministries that are successful on the outside are the ones that may not be doing as well. And the opposite may be true that the people and the lives, and the jobs, and the ministries that seem to be broken or with problems, God actually might be doing something amazing in it at the moment.

And so back to our main characters of the Christmas story-Mary and Joseph. Think about this story-this is how God chose to introduce Himself to the world! Through poor people, through broken people, from a city in which another biblical character said, “Is it possible for anything good to come from [there] Nazareth? John 1:46

Or why in their journey, did they have to travel all the way from Nazareth to Bethlehem, while Mary was near birth-to give birth among the animals?

“Because there was no room for them…in the inn”

And yet think about your Christmas. Has it ever resembled something so simple and confusing? Can you relate to this message? It is easy to wax nostalgic when we have lived our lives so far away from the story….But Perhaps it is time for us to force ourselves in closer to Jesus. Closer to the poverty, closer through our pain-to not run to our myriad of western idols-and this year, make a commitment to take the nostalgia into our lives, by drawing nearer to Jesus and less to all the noise in the world that numb us from the reality that

“Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted”

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth”

I take great comfort in the small things that bring me to a greater humility. That bring me low before men, but which fills my heart with the joy that only comes through brokenness and trial. May the Lord, who experienced such a humble birth, bless us with experiences and a true nostalgia that bring us closer to Him.

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