I’ve mentioned on a few occasions about the exciting times we have experienced over the past few months with our purchase of a new home. But as I sat down in the quiet solitude of the early morning hours today, not feeling quite on top of things with the lingering effects of a cold, I was reminded that this time has also brought with it lots of stress! Once we engaged our fantastic Realtor it seemed like everything went into warp drive! The only problem with that was that it seemed that there were a thousand things to accomplish before we could find and then be moved into the new house.
Then on top of all this, Piper’s Dad had been diagnosed with cancer and that weighed very heavily on both of us, especially since Piper (and to be honest… me too) were in no condition to make a trip to California. We were receiving very little feedback from the home front and my numerous attempts at various types of communication to Piper’s family went unanswered. All this was very frustrating, confusing and stirred a bit of anger as we were concerned but were being left out of the loop. Having lost my own father a few years earlier, I could imagine what Piper might have been feeling but due to the Alzheimer's could not communicate.
So… to say there were many things on my mind as well as on our calendar throughout our new house project, would be an understatement! At times I had to fight feelings that I could not simply go on, but yet I KNEW that this was from the Lord and that I needed to do my part so He could do His. Finally I did what I’ve always done in the past and organized everything needed to be accomplished into a timeline. Then I just took one day, one part of the project at a time and refused to be concerned about everything beyond that day. Besides, there were (and still are) many things that Papa God was going to have to make a way for us in order to complete future tasks, so why be anxious when I don’t even know all the facts yet! And here we sit this morning, just a few days over a month in our new, completely own home of our dreams… and all those parts of the project from the immediate past are little but a distant memory!
You know, I think Joseph and Mary had to make a similar decision to the one I made in order to make it… sanely… through the journey that the Lord had called them to accomplish on the way to the birth of our Savior. I would imagine that there were plenty of times where Joseph was tempted to FREAK OUT at the trip ahead with a very pregnant wife and the very special child that she held in her womb. He could either get overwhelmed and fail at this initial part of the program that God had set up for them, or choose to simply trust the Lord for each step, one day at a time. Well, I don’t read anywhere in the Gospels when he freaked out… do you? So he must have trusted God, for everything worked our perfectly!
I would encourage you to think about the projects in your own life and how you will choose to handle them as you read from today’s Tuesday, the SECOND week of Advent posting.
Tuesday, the second week of Advent
Today’s Reading: Micah 5:2-3 / Luke 2:1-5
I can but only imagine the tension mixed with an atmosphere of excitement in the air as Mary and Joseph packed their things in preparation for the trip to Bethlehem. To many it must have seemed to have been the worst timing ever for the Roman Emperor to have decreed a Census of the people under his authority. With Mary in the final trimester of her pregnancy, a journey of that magnitude would be unbearable. But nowhere in the recorded manuscript of the event do we find the principle cast members ever uttering a single word of complaint! Mary and Joseph had cast the care of their lives and that of the special baby into the hands of their God, and nothing was going to sway them away from their intended course.
God used the reach and authority of the reigning heathen power of the world to unknowingly set the stage for His grand plan. The timing was perfect, and every detail was in place for our intrepid travelers to set out on a trip that most scholars say took about a week. The Romans had built an extensive array of roads designed to move their troops and equipment around the empire. With the world experiencing a time of peace, Mary and Joseph were able to take advantage of the roadways and due to the broad scope of the Census, were able to safely travel with groups of others as they made their ways to their hometowns.
If Joseph had been anything like me, I am positive that he must have done some research into the prophecies concerning the adventure that they had been chosen by God to fulfill. He would have read from the writings of Micah as to the location where the Christ child would be born. He would have learned that the name Bethlehem meant “the house of bread”, and while probably not knowing the significance of that as Mary’s child would later refer to Himself as the “bread of life” (John 6:35), he would have understood that Micah’s prophecy “respects the personal character of the Messiah, and the discoveries of himself to the world, (and how) it distinguishes his human birth from his existing from eternity.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary – Micah 5:1-6)
As the drama began to unfold on that first day of the journey, I can picture Joseph smiling at his lovely wife to be, holding her hand with a comforting grasp and uttering the calming words that “everything was going to be alright!” They may not have known the multitude of situations that they would have to deal with along the way, but they were confident that the hand of their Lord was upon them. By then they had to be aware that they were part of a well-orchestrated plan that had been set in motion many years before.
When they turned to take one last look at the city limits of Nazareth, I would imagine the words from Mary’s son’s namesake Joshua was buzzing in their hearts saying “I’ve commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged! I am the LORD your God, and I will be there to help you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 Contemporary English Version) With that they would have turned and set their faces toward Bethlehem and the task that was set before them.
As this year comes to an end and you take your final considerations of all that you successfully accomplished as well as those things that were not done as well, or maybe not at all in 2015, I would encourage you to be like Mary and Joseph. Let your heavenly Father’s words of encouragement and faithfulness fill your heart and then set your face toward all that He has for you in the New Year to come – and live it one day at a time! Joshua 1:9 would be a great scripture to memorize and then hide away in your heart for the upcoming year! Have a great day! Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting to be Strong and Courageous about today?”