Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is merciful…Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.” (Psalm 116:5.7)
Cluttered little cave, with disheveled straw strewn on the floor and cranky animals waiting to be fed inside their cramped quarters. Nothing sterile or orderly in the place you were born, in this backwater town labeled Bethlehem. An artist’s realistic portrayal might frighten us if we truly saw this impoverished location, the actual scene that stands in stark contrast to where our imaginations usually go.
Lord on high, you entered our world this way for your specific purpose. You wanted us to know from the outset that you fully grasped our messy worlds that often lack order or decorum. We exist with hard times stacked against us, with few things going the way we thought they should. Your meek entrance into this less-than-perfect scenario demonstrated that you fully comprehend the struggles entangling our lives.
In brilliant contrast, the psalmist of old described your nature in other-worldly, poetic terms: “O LORD my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty, covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent…he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind” (Psalm 104:1-3).
You who are and always will be very great, chose to become very small. You exchanged majestic, splendid garments for commonplace “swaddling cloths,” and covered yourself with dazzling, brilliant light long before you were wrapped up in strips of fabric. You stretched “out the heavens like a tent,” every inch of the universe under your divine control. But then you arrived on earth inside common quarters, within the confines of our ordinary existence.
In your exquisite dominion, clouds were simply chariots at your disposal as you rode triumphantly on the “wings of the wind.” But you chose a humble, courageous man and an obedient woman to be the first ones to love you here on earth and carry you to Egypt safely in their protective arms.
Through the weeks and months to come, may you remind us of your place of dominion over all our concerns. May we experience your majesty and might in each corner of our world while simultaneously resting in the undeniable truth that you understand the complex pieces of our complicated lives.
Elizabeth A Mitchell
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