I have collected nativities since 1990. I like to have them in every room in the house during December as a constant reminder of what I’m celebrating during this season. With holiday shopping, parties, decking the halls, filling shoeboxes, providing for angels, and just plain making memories with my minions, I can too quickly forget to focus on the birthday boy Himself. Maybe you can relate?
Several years ago I noticed that my mother-in-law, who has a beautiful collection of nativities herself, had one display of just the Magi. Just three wise men, all facing the same direction, all carrying different gifts, all quietly traveling toward something they couldn’t yet see.
I’ve thought about that partial nativity many times since first seeing it. The fact that the original Magi were attentive, that they weren’t casual observers of the world around them, but active and engaged, that they were looking for something when they “happened to notice” the star in the east. And the fact that they were expectant. They believed the Scriptures and combined with their knowledge of geography, astronomy and perhaps some other sciences, recognized the significance of the star’s appearance for what it was!
During this third week in December, in the midst of looking for deals or hunting down the “perfect” gift, ponder what it is you are looking for. What are you expecting this season?
Father, This time of year is so busy, so full of activity, to-do lists, parties, shopping, and stuff. Please, help me this holiday season to live in a more expectant way, with a heart attentive to You.
When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move;
When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through;
When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You –
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!”
Oh my. This song has reverberated through my mind several times a day, every day, for several weeks now. I relate too-readily with the sentiment in the chorus. My heart is too ready to wallow in the feeling of God’s abandonment when anything is too tough or too long or too unpleasant or too uncomfortable.
Do I trust in Him when He doesn’t move the mountain in front of me? When He holds out His hand, offering instead to walk with me over the mountain, guiding me, helping me, do I eagerly take it or do I cross my arms and walk off in a huff, agitated and resentful?
Do I trust Him when He doesn’t part the waters I wish I could walk through? When His wisdom dictates a more difficult or seemingly perilous route, do I drop to my knees – not in worship, but in a tantrum of two-year-old proportions?
Do I trust Him when He doesn’t give me the answers as I cry out to Him? When He lovingly answers instead, “wait,” do I accept that as an answer or rebel against His not performing on cue?
Because that’s what is at the heart of this ongoing issue of trust I continually struggle with – believing He knows best when it conflicts with what I think I know is best. Trusting His plan when it doesn’t match mine. Surrendering to His will instead of arrogantly clinging to my own.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
PONDER: What mountains or waters or questions are you facing right now about which God is asking you to walk with Him in trust?