Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Wings--Day 3

Christmas Devotions

As I have considered and pondered the third December devotion, I wondered if there was any possible way I could write twenty-two more thoughts about Christmas. Who am I to think I could possibly shed a new light on this great event? There is no new light. I am called to shine the same light as those of long ago.

Mary grew greater with child; and as she did she and Joseph continued their life in Nazareth. After the whispers concerning Mary and Joseph died down, the couple blended into the fabric of the village. The tiny town was not aware of who was in their midst. Villagers living in Bethlehem were oblivious to the fact that God would enter the portal of humanity in one of their animal shelters. They had no idea that the birth of an unknown baby would change the course of history. While Jesus was entering the world Bethlehem continued to endure the overflow from the census. Bethlehem's inhabitants did not understand that they were center stage.

Today I have been thinking about the wings of the stage. What was happening that could not be seen? Where were Peter and Andrew while Jesus was being formed in Mary's womb? Were they toddlers? Was Simon Peter forever running out the door when his mother opened it? Did Andrew get tangled in his father's nets? Where were James and John? Were they thundering through their mother's kitchen? Was John even a thought in his mother's mind? Where was Mary Magdalene? Where was Martha? Stephen? And where was Paul? They were in the wings—behind the heavy curtains.

Often others ask why don't we know more about these people? Why do we only see a few brief shining moments of their lives? We must remember that they came from the wings. Their stories began there and will continue there long after they leave the stage.

God is telling his story. Whether the world understands and acknowledges the fact or not (just like Nazareth and Bethlehem) this is God Almighty's story. And we are a part of it.

Mary, Joseph, Gabriel, the shepherds, the wise men, the inn keeper, and. Herod flared hotly on center stage for a brief time. Each one is like the flaring of an ember—red hot and then absorbed in the greater fire. And in the wings God was preparing others for the next act. Life and activity and orchestration go on in the wings even while the performance is happening on the stage. Often the audience has no idea of the drama that unfolds behind the heavy curtains.

The only one who will forever remain center-stage is Jesus. Two thousand years have passed and people are still considering him. They are still watching, studying, and critiquing his performance. They are still examining his program. His story is still being told. And we are all still a part of it. Don't doubt this fact just because you are in the wings. 

Preparation and maturation happens in the wings. Joseph was righteous before God placed him on the stage. Mary was pure and believed the impossible before God made her the vessel where he formed his Son.

I want to watch the center stage of history. There are incredible people and events there to consider and behold. But I want to be very aware that God is at work in the wings. Scripture says that God sent Jesus into this world in the fullness of time. Time did not just mean center stage. God was also orchestrating the activity in the wings to fulfill every purpose he had planned.

Will my story ever be center stage? I used to long and yearn for that moment when I stepped from the wings into the light. More often now I simply want the ember of my story to become a part of the greater fire.

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