If you knew without a doubt when your son or daughter was born, that they would be the Prime Minister of Australia in their 30s, would it change the way you raised them?
We all have hopes and dreams for our children but of course we can’t say what their lives will actually look like, not even for tomorrow let alone decades into their future. If we knew they would hold a position as important and influential as PM, would it change the school we sent them to, the opportunities we gave them, the limitations we put on them? I can hear myself saying something like ‘you can’t do that, you’re going to be the Prime Minister remember!’
And then of course there’s the obligatory PRESSURE because you’re raising the future PM. Not sure if I’m up to it to be honest.
Some two centuries ago an ordinary woman named Mary, no different from you or me, was given the incredible privilege of birthing a baby boy who was God’s son, entering the world to be its Saviour. You want mummy pressure, there it is!
Did that knowledge change the way Mary raised her son? It’s hard to know for sure but accounts of Jesus’ life in the Bible suggest that he was raised like every other Jewish boy: he was taught the customs of his people and potentially followed his earthly dad’s footsteps into carpentry.
When she and Joseph were relegated to a stable for the birth, did she wonder whether she had gotten it wrong? Was Jesus really who the angel had said he was? He was meant to be a king, but he was born in a stable! Really?!! Like us, Mary had no idea as to what her son’s life would look like in detail. Would he really save people? She accepted that Jesus’ birth was God’s plan so she trusted Him with the details even though, at times, it was hard.
What she didn’t know was that being born in very humble circumstances was also part of the plan – to allow Jesus to be accessible to the lowly as much as the regal. Both shepherds from the field and learned men from afar came to acknowledge and stand in awe of him.
Now two centuries have passed and we have the benefit of knowing the ending. We know that Jesus was born into our world to share a truth no one was prepared for… that God, so mighty and great, loves us! We are ordinary faulty humans. God is holy. And Jesus came to stand in the gap and bring us reconciliation and peace with God. He was the saviour alright. His gave up his life so that we no longer need to carry the weight of guilt and shame. We can be forgiven.
So if you know without a doubt that there is a God who loves you so much, in all your faulty humanness, that he gave his life for you, does it change the way you respond?
Does it change the way you see Jesus? His sole purpose on this earth was to be your salvation. Does it make a difference to know, as Mary knew, that this is God’s plan and He knows the details…
Will you do as the shepherds and the wise men did and acknowledge and honour Jesus as Saviour?
My friend, that invitation is for you.