Humanity is enamored with the sensational, the flashy, the new and “cutting edge.” But throughout history the most profound events have occurred in the most ordinary settings. And people passed by unaware and unconcerned. Consider Jesus, God in flesh, Emmanuel! Born into this world in a backwater of the Roman Empire. He was born into a young family of the working poor. Not in a home with a midwife or even surrounded by family. His mother didn’t even have the comfort of having the women of her own family at her side. They probably had already written her off as a disgrace. His parents were just one couple out of hundreds, perhaps thousands pressing in to Bethlehem to register for a census. To those who saw them, merely faces in a crowd. How ordinary. How many just noted them and stepped around them in the street or marketplace?
God works in the ordinary. If you haven’t figured that out yet you need to! While we long for the heavens to part and the earth to shake, God is at work right under your nose changing lives eternally, and we pass by unaware. Right now counts forever. Never forget this. Seek and serve Him now; that’s what matters. Love Him and love your neighbor. If we don’t love our brother whom we have seen, how can we love God whom we haven’t (1 Jn 4:20)? God’s people seeking and serving in the present, and expecting Him to work, will not likely miss too much. Our “lamps will be trimmed” and His activity will be the subject of praise, but not likely of surprise.
And that natal night in Bethlehem that passed so unnoticed by the world? It didn’t go entirely unremarked. God disclosed His glory to shepherds (as opposed to theologians or potentates) and sent them in search of the fulfillment of the ages. The scene of this revelation was a livestock enclosure out in the Judean hills. The Divine revealed in and to the ordinary. Even as He departed 33 years later, and the disciples craned their necks trying to follow His progress, God brought them back to “earth” through an angelic message: “Men of Galilee, what are you doing staring up into space? This same Jesus will come back the same way. Ahem! I believe He gave you some instructions. Get at it!”*
Beloved, seek Him now, in our present circumstances; and expect, look for Him to work! There is no time like the present. Merry Christmas.
*My paraphrase of Act 1:10-11.