Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Advent Conspiracy Week 3

Herod and Caesar are characters whose prominence in the Advent story should not be overlooked. They are powerful, popular, rich, and authoritative. When they say go, you go. I didn't matter if you were engaged or if your soon to be wife was pregnant with a baby that wasn't yours. It didn't matter to Caesar or Herod that Mary was 9 months pregnant. When Herod and Caesar say go, you go. 

Your circumstances don't matter. 

Such is life. It always seems that other people are calling the shots. The health insurance didn't pay a bill that they said they were going to pay. So we, the little person, are stuck with the bill. The air conditioning goes out the very same month you lose your job. You get a flat tire when it is raining, freezing, in the middle of nowhere with no cell service. Such is life...

There is a voice that says, "It always happens to me... just me..." We might ask ourselves, "why today? why me?" Or we blame ourselves, "... only if I  worked harder... I wouldn't have lost my job..." 

We might not realize it but we spend our lives bowing down to Herod and Caesar. They call shots. So we think... 

Our circumstances overwhelm and defeat us. We start carrying "it only happens to me" or "this world is going to hell in a handbasket" as our personal mantra. Giving Caesar and Herod to much credit.

Mary and Joesph had every right to be angry and frustrated. They were forced to travel at the most inopportune time in their lives. Joseph would have to explain to his family in Bethlehem why his soon to be wife was pregnant and Mary had to face the reality that she would have to give birth in an unknown place. 

Yet all the while we thought "Caesar" was calling the shots... yet it was God all along. Long before the world heard or knew of Caesar, God said, "O Bethlehem... from you shall spring forth for me one who is to rule in Israel... and he shall be one of peace..." This was God's plan not Caesar's. God was changing the world through obscurity and complicated circumstances. God's plan in our lives is often a subversive story. It is a story we don't see. 

I have said it a thousand times...we all will face difficult circumstances... all along the way. We are so easily pulled to believe that others are calling the shots in our lives. Advent reveals to us that it is in the frustrating circumstances of life that quite possibly God is up to something good in our lives and in the world. Our struggle might be whether we are willing to look deep within ourselves to hear the heavenly narrative that the shepherds heard on the dark and quiet night. 

"Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!"