When I mention the greatest mystery in history of the world, what comes to your mind? Well, as I sat thinking in the early hours I realized there are many mysteries known…or unknown, to mankind, as the case may be.
But, like it or not, rejoice over it or not, there is a great mystery that all must eventually contend with for themselves, for there is no getting around it. I have been Re-enjoying (I know it’s not a word, but I just made it one- and that is OK, right Kel?) God Is In The Manger by Dietrich Bonhoeffer anew this Advent season. I am faced with the reality of wrestling with the Great Mystery of God once more, and it never ceases to amaze me.
How much mystery is stowed up in the one act of God born to a virgin. That one thing alone is an incomprehensible mystery. Ah, but look again, the mystery and sacrifice that takes away the sin of the world comes again, and again to each one who is willing to accept this miracle unto himself! The mystery of the manger is that God is born within each one of His children. This truth…this spiritual birth, is the difference between religion and the relationship that God desires with His redeemed. It comes through mystery and miracle…it comes through the sacrifice of father, mother…family. One man, one woman, one child. It comes through blood and water, in humility, grace and lowliness. If God himself, should make himself nothing, in the eyes of man, to reach the lost, the sinful, the hurting, the hopeless…what does this mean to us?
Christmas causes us to pause and consider the greatest conundrum ever presented. Whatever Christmas is or isn’t to you, ultimately it comes down to this…what do you make of the babe in the manger?
Your Prompt (s) for Today:
*I suggest you read through all the post before journaling!
As you consider the Holy Family, ponder the mystery anew from the perspective of Joseph and Mary. Have you ever considered asking God about the things that don’t make sense to you in life? In Scripture? I dare you to do so. Think back to your earliest understanding of this historic, and holy family…who are they to you? What significance do they hold (if any) in your life? What significance could they or should they? What can you learn from them? Are you willing to hear what God has to say through Scripture? The Birth of Jesus can be found in the first two chapters of Matthew and Luke. Try reading a different Bible translation than you have before.
Journal about your perspective on family, family roles and how they have changed in your perception. Be subjective not objective- you are writing about your honest observations and reflections. NOT for an audience. Explore the ways you have thought about family at different times, and how holidays can confirm or create conflict around these self-held perceptions. Consider the positive gifts and examples you have received from the families that have touched your life.
How has the birth of a child changed your world? Write about your first child, your grandchild…any child who came into the world and changed the way you perceived everything.
Run, Run, Rudolph: There are so many ways to go here…but with 7 minutes, you better focus on one!
Travelling Light: Make a list of everything you are thankful for regarding family, your children, grandchildren, siblings, parents, and extended family.
Going Deeper: Reflect on Colossians 1: 15-22 along with the questions above. Trusting God has something to say through Scripture generally, trust also He has something to say to you personally. Bring your hardest questions and doubts to him. Do you find certain aspects of Scripture hard to believe? Ask God, who is able give wisdom, and knowledge. Have doubts about who Jesus is or is not? Your doubts don’t shake His throne. Jesus promised to reveal Himself to the true seeker. (John 14:21). Go deep.
Christmas Creatives: As a fan of religious art throughout the centuries, I enjoy seeing the many renditions of the nativity over the course of time and from various artists. Create a nativity of your own rendition with whatever resources resonate. Paint, sketch, collage. 3 dimensional, or flat. Vague, accurate, or creative …bring it o life for yourself. Words, images, sticks, stones.
Phew! The topic of family alone can be BRAVE and CRAZY territory to wander into…take the prompt however you need it. Adjust and adopt as is good for your heart, mind and soul!