|Yes! His shirt IS on BACKWARDS!|
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken ... So Joseph also went ... to Bethlehem ... to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger Luke 2:1-3It had been one of those mornings in our home. Five of us were at church, but I stood alone in our row. Tears threatened to spill from my eyes. My sons were so angry with me that they had stormed off when they entered the church lobby. I had refused to allow the kids to bring their electronics into the church. Now, my husband had been dispatched to the restroom to round up one sulking boy. The remaining son was perched on the extra chairs stacked at the back of the church. I could feel the power of his glares even from a distance. My daughter sat in the electronics booth running the projector that provides the congregation with the words to the worship songs. If she had her gadgets with her, they were, at least, safely stowed in her purse. She however, was also unhappy, because we were late.
On most Sunday mornings I start yelling about thirty minutes before we have to leave. I bark out orders about shoes, showers, coats, and socks. I send people back to brush their teeth. I threaten and plead until we are safely ensconced in the car and moving up the highway. That morning, I had determined not to raise my voice. I wondered aloud, "Can't you all just pretend that I am screaming and move faster! It's almost Christmas!"
We had rushed in after the service had started. I was surrounded by worshippers singing treasured Christmas Carols. Agitated I glanced back over my shoulder. No husband. Son still looking miserable. Daughter... daughter scuttling out the door. I hurried after her. Patty had surgery on her wisdom teeth a few days before. Her cheeks were still swollen and sore. "I feel sick," she told me pulling a yogurt out of her purse. When I began to ask her if she wanted to leave, she reassured me, "I want to stay. Let me eat this and see."
Feeling defeated, I walked back to my empty row. I prayed, "I'm not sure why I bothered to come today, Lord. It shouldn't be this hard. I wanted to stand as a family and sing Christmas carols. I wanted to smell the pine and the burning candles. I wanted to enjoy being with loving friends and family. I wanted to focus on You. This is not what I wanted. It's not why I came."
"No, it's why I came,"was whispered lovingly back to my heart.
Jesus knows about those days. Those days when our hearts are heavy. When we are in pain. When we are alone. Those days. He knows the plans He has for us, to give us hope and a future. On those days, He gives us beauty for ashes. He is Emmanuel, God With Us.
In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; He will do what is just and right in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which He will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior.’ ~Jeremiah 33:15-16It’s why He came.