Friday, December 23, 2011

In His Hands

Joseph. The betrothed of Mary. The step dad of Jesus. The man who chose to follow God and his heart.  Joseph the carpenter. The man who walked miles leading a small donkey and caring for his very pregnant wife. This man showed such faith. 

Matthew 1:24
When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve.  We are thinking of the Christ child. We are thinking of His mother Mary. We are thinking of the stable, shepherds and the manger. What about Joseph?

New Dad's know this - new babies are frightening!  They are so small, they need their Mama for their very life.  They are also so amazing.  New Dad's know this - every Dad looks for his face in the face of his newborn child.  Who did Joseph see when he looked down upon his first child?  The child not of his body but from God?  Did he wonder how he was going to teach this baby how to be a man?  Was he looking for God in his eyes?

Joseph never got to see his wife's first born fulfill His promise. But that promise was fulfilled because of the father he was!  God could have chosen a king, a merchant, an artist, a priestly family but he chose a carpenter from a small town.

Carpenters know the value of the work of their hands.  Didn't Jesus in His Ministry use his hands so much? With such care and love?  Carpenters know how important it is to make all things work together, visible and invisible, to create a solid whole.  Didn't Jesus minister to what was easily seen (disease) and what was invisible (the heart)? 

Carpenters know about where things come from, they respect the tree that gives them the wood. They value their tools. They craft with their hands, they know intimately what they are creating.

God knows each hair of our heads. Each sparrow's wing beat is heard.  Who better than a carpenter to raise His son in His human form? 

Joseph helped Mary deliver their baby. His calloused hands lovingly wrapped that child, and held him close.  He looked into the face of a miracle, and I wonder if God whispered into his heart right then and promised him the tools he'd need for this job?  I'm sure He did!

In his hands God put the baby Jesus.  In the hands of a carpenter Jesus took His first human breath.  I find it so fitting to think of Joseph today. He has done all he can for his beloved Mary.  He knows good craftsmanship and this stable is well built. Built with love. The animals are cared for.  The hay clean and fresh smelling.

Breathe it in. Breathe in those moments before Jesus came into the world.

Angels held their breath.
Shepherds listened for the song.
Wisemen walked following His star.

A young father, his dreams forever changed, watches in awe at what God has wrought and he knows it is so very good.  He holds Mary tight, and helps wipe the baby clean.  The three of them rest.  

You've done your rushing.  I pray you are done and ready to rest.  Rest with us and consider the tasks ahead of this young couple.  Rest with us and consider the miracle that was wrought that night.  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mary's Faith

Luke 1:38
 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” 
Then the angel left her.

Mary, in a show of complete obedience to God, speaks her faith and then lives it.  It could not have been easy. Young, unmarried, pregnant, a Jewish country girl. None of these things proclaimed her as the mother of a king.  And yet she willingly and openly accepted God's will for her.  Granted she was told by an angel.  And that is a pretty persuasive personage I'm sure!  And yet...after the glow of angelic presence left, she stayed true. 

Read Luke 1:38 again. Mary accepts God's will. She also states clearly that she holds an expectation of that fulfillment.  She wasn't leaving it open, "uh okay Lord, if you still think this is a good idea..." She stated firmly, and with conviction, May YOUR WORD to me be fulfilled

What a wonderful expectation!  Not only does Mary model acceptance for us, but also expectation.  God promises and keeps His word. We can count on it. Now, then and forever!  The promise in her belly, that grew beneath her heart, was the greatest gift this world ever saw.  It came from free will in all directions.

God had to will, freely, the salvation of His creation.  Jesus had to will, freely, the sacrifice He would make.  Mary had to will, freely, the use of her body, her youth, her love, energy and life, for His growing, birthing, nurturing, loving and entry into adulthood.

What a wonderful agreement!  No wonder the angels sang!  Humans have shown themselves to be either mightily faithful or terribly selfish.  At no time before or since has God been so intimately in an agreement with a person, let alone a woman!  People have been asked to give up their lives, their fortunes, their very breath and yet this woman gave something so precious. 

Mary's faith was the faith that nurtured the baby Jesus, the toddler and the young man.  Mary's heart, her body, fed him and cared for him.  She loved, cherished and nurtured the human baby boy who was the Son of God.  She promised to be obedient and she was. She encouraged Jesus as only a mother could.

What do you think of Mary's faith?  What does she model for you?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New Born Son

The baby kicked and moved. He was too big for his Mama.  He needed to be born. She needed to hold him in her arms after all the time he lived under her heart. 

Our friends just had a baby boy today, they are so excited, scared, nervous and will be surrounded by friends, family and strangers offering 'free advice' and gifts.  It is a joyful time for them. For everyone who is happy for them.

I started thinking about Mary and her journey to the stable.  So different for her and Joseph.  Their baby, their baby, was going to come soon.  They had no home, no welcoming friends, no one to celebrate this birth with them...or did they?

Far away Elizabeth and Zechariah were holding their son and praying for his cousin.  They knew there was something very special about both their babies.

That most special baby boy was born in the most humble of place, and yet I believe that the Shepherd of our souls chose that place.  He chose to be surrounded by His Father's creation, to be shone upon by the star, attended by those who knew life and death so intimately in the fields and to be sought, sought out, by the rich, the wise and the holy.

Fresh cold air, warm sweet grass hay, the hot blowing breath of cattle, donkeys and sheep.  Warm bodies keeping them warm. A new born life in a place built for new born life.  No palace for this King, not yet.

Mary had so much to cherish in her heart. All mothers know this feeling.  We hold that baby for the first time, look into their eyes and see eternity.  And Mary saw so much more.  Those tiny hands, those bottomless brown eyes, that newborn toothless smile broke through her exhaustion, and she leaned back after her labour and soaked in the love.  I'm sure the love shone down upon them as God celebrated this first step in realizing our ultimate salvation.

New Mama's hold their babies tight, arms finally holding their heart's desire, and new Daddy's hold baby so gently. Fearing they could break, cry, poop, puke or pee. Fearing they would do something wrong in those first moments. Each one tired from the shared labour of love and each one basking in the angelic starlight.

My friends have a new born son, and this close to Christmas I cannot help but remember Mary. Not as you might expect though, as a new Mama holding the wonder of the world in her hands.  I remember that feeling over six years ago.  I can imagine her tired smile, her aching body and yearning to hold him and never let him go.

What wonder God has wrought that this baby, Jesus, would be the One who ached for us, bled for us, held us and as promised to never let us go.  Thank you Lord for the miracle of Christmas, for this new born son!

Luke 2:19
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Love Colored Glasses

My husband loves me.
He sees me through
love colored glasses.

His eyes do not see
wrinkles or tangled hair.

I love my husband.
I see him through
love colored glasses.

My eyes do not see
wrinkles or frumpy hair.

Our Lord loves us.
He loves us through
Christ colored glasses.

His eyes do not see
sin and shame, all
He sees is us redeemed.

My husband and son
see me through
love colored glasses.

We see each other in love.
We know our faults,
We even know theirs.
We love them anyway.
How could we do less?

God loves us because
He sees us washed clean
and redeemed by His Son.

He sees us in love.
He knows our faults.
He loves us anyway.
He loves us completely.
How can we do any less?

Copyright 2011 Shanyn Silinski