Listen to this devotional:
Luke 2:4-7 – So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there 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, because there was no room for them in the inn. (NIV)
Recently we have had a wolf in our area. One of our friends' dogs was attacked, killed, and eaten one morning last week. The other night around 1:00 a.m., another of our neighbour's dogs roused me from sleep by coming and barking frantically under my bedroom window. Knowing Skye and Mocha's bark, I realized immediately that something was very wrong. Literally leaping from bed, I tore down the stairs, hopped into my boots, and raced from the house as I jerked on my jacket and grabbed the whip from the front porch.
Together Skye, Mocha, and I made a beeline for the corral where the animals were milling but safe. After an hour and a half of standing guard outside in frigid temperatures, waving a lantern about in the dark, the dogs let me know by their behaviour that it was safe. Shortly afterwards, our neighbour behind us let us know that they had actually seen the wolf that same morning when it came after their dogs.
Since then, all the goats, as well as both ponies, have been hustled into the stable and the door locked tight behind them every evening. Neither Frankie nor Jenny, our horses, though obedient, is happy about this situation. They would much rather be out in the corral. But I know something that they don't. I know that my actions are necessary for their wellbeing. I know the whole plan; they only know a small part of it.
Similarly, God knew the whole plan concerning the conception, birth, and life of His Son, Jesus. He knew that it was necessary to fulfill prophecy that Jesus be born in the town of Bethlehem and in a stable, to boot.
How difficult it must have been for Mary to make such a long and difficult trip so late in her pregnancy, and how much more difficult to discover that her firstborn child was going to be born in a stable! Yet how obedient and faithful was Mary amidst it all. She may not have liked the fact that she didn't understand God's plan, but she did know that He was trustworthy, which made accepting the situation doable.
Like my horses, and like Mary the mother of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus, we, too, might find, during this Christmas season and in the New Year ahead, that God is requiring things of us which we don't much like or understand. When such occurs, let us remember the plan. Let us remember that we know only a very small part of it, but God knows the whole. By so remembering and placing our trust in His trustworthiness, like Mary, we, too, will discover that accepting the situation with obedience and faith is indeed very doable!
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the plan. Thank You that You know what we don't and that we can count on You to guide us according to Your wisdom and goodness. Bless us with faith in Your trustworthiness that we might be obedient servants of Christ now and throughout the coming year, no matter what the coming year brings. In Christ's name, we ask. Amen.