Christmas, Devotionals, Faith, Family, Life, Ministry, The Bible, writings

Beauty Out of Brokenness

My oldest son David loves Christmas, perhaps even more than I do. He loves his Christmas pajamas and decorations. He might love decorations too much. If he had his way, we would purchase every decoration at the store. For him, it’s the whole Christmas season, the lights, the songs, the hot cocoa, the gifts, and the Baby Jesus.

While I’m thrilled that my children share my love of Christmas, the truth is they have added to my joy immeasurably. When we had Libby, our oldest, Christmas was something so special. Seeing her eyes as she opened her first gift, well that was a memory I’ll never forget. But if I’m honest, it was Christmas of 2016 when David was just 7 weeks old that affected me the most. Here I was holding my son in my arms, wondering what Mary and Joseph must have felt as they held their little son so long ago.

There is a special joy in seeing a child come into the world. To hold a child and imagine the possibilities this little one presents. The potential. The many ways God may use this babe. That’s why Christmas takes on a special meaning when you’re a parent.

I know most parents have dreams for their children. Expectations. High hopes. But what if an angel told you your child was going to change the world? After checking with a therapist and adjusting your medication, what would you think? I can’t even imagine! Perhaps that’s why two miracle announcements in the Christmas saga were met with, at best, dumbfounded responses.

You have Zechariah and Elizabeth, two godly people who have been faithful to God. I know Joseph and Mary get most of the attention during Advent and Christmas. I get it. But sometimes we too quickly gloss over this family. We can learn a lot from them. Despite doing what God has asked them to do, they have been unable to have a child. That’s a pain that is all too common. And now, they are advanced in years and all of a sudden an angel tells Zechariah that they are going to have a son and name him John. Zechariah’s understandable doubt leads to him being temporarily made mute.

For instance, even though they observed the Lord’s commandments and lived blamelessly, they still didn’t have all that they longed for. God had not blessed them with a child. Sometimes we have the mistaken notion that if we do all the right things and jump through all the right hoops that God will give us what we want, what we long for. And while God did ultimately give them a child, there are millions of couples who have not received that blessing.

Zechariah and Elizabeth show us that despite disappointments or hard times, we can still be faithful to the God who has given us so much, even if their one desire is not met. Many would rejoice at the birth of John. Even more would rejoice at the birth of Jesus a few months later. So what do we take from this unexpected announcement?

Luke 1:16-17 says, ” And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

Out of brokenness, God can bring about something beautiful, something unexpected, that will cause people to turn to His Son. My hope for you this season is that God will take the broken parts of my life, and yours, and turn them into something beautiful.

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