The birth of Jesus, such a shining design—God marked it with an exclamation point—a star……………………..
Some of my ideas are just bad. Take walking the dog in flip-flops, for instance. Bad idea. One look at the x-ray and you can quickly surmise why they call them flip-flops. My body flipped and flopped while other parts of me—like my collar bone—didn’t bend at all. It just broke…in two.
Hmmm. Watering the garden in your bare feet, while moving a slippery brick. Need I explain just how much of a bad idea that was? When I enlightened my boss, standing crooked in my big, black boot, it sounded like something I’d tell my children not to do. “Don’t pick up that brick!” I can hear my smart-mommy advice ringing in my head. Too bad I didn’t listen to myself.
And today, while sweeping up a bazillion and one tiny Styrofoam balls—my bright idea of fake snow—heavy on the fake. I realized tiny bb’s of foam, that static themselves to everything on the move, may not have been the best plan ever. Unfortunately it looks like the dog has moved enough to cause a snow drift around her bed. What was I thinking? The realization coming down last Saturday at our Christmas Tea. To set the mood I’d managed a heavy snow storm over the centerpiece. The women were gracious while choking down floaters in their drinks. I’m sorry; I think that’s a spot of snow in your tea!?! Oh let it snow, let it snow, no no no.
Some bad ideas have merit, however. When I decided to have my father move in with us after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the Neurologist thought it was a veeeerrrry bad idea. He claimed my husband and I had three young children to think about. The year strained. Jerry patient, while the kids wanted to know why Grandpa referred to them by the logos on their shirts, and allowed the dog to slurp out of his early morning cup of coffee. I told Tommy Hilfiger it was because Stormy liked coffee. I felt like God wanted me to take care of dad, but it was exhausting.
At night I would slink tired to bed and wake to a light peeking at me from under my dad’s door. The dark inviting restlessness. Going in to get him ready for bed… again. “She had blue eyes?” He’d ask. “Yes, china blue, like a doll you used to say…you were married 44 years…her name was Nancy.” His eyes sparking with their story—some parts still familiar. “I was going to war and asked her to marry me.” “And she said, yes.” I’d whisper while tip-toeing out his bedroom door. God was so gracious to give us the blessing of that very bad idea.
And when my oldest daughter was off school for a year with a serious illness, because of the high dose steroids she was taking, and the physical changes her body had endured, one of her doctors believed returning for the last month of school to be a terrible idea. Peering at me over top his intelligent glasses, his words blunt. “If it was me and my daughter, I wouldn’t let her do it. The other kids will eat her alive with teasing, then how is she going to feel?”
We gulped back tears until we got to the car. “My real friends will like me for who I am, not for what I look like, mom.” We huddled and prayed for God’s plan. Brittany received the Archie Griffith Award at the year-end assembly for courage that year. And I wonder, how can we have courage without difficulty? And how many times has God used trials to produce perseverance and faith in our lives? God can take what we see as a bad idea and make it good, no, make it the best plan for us.
“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’ (Matthew 2:1,2).
The Magi knew a great inspiration when they saw it. The birth of Jesus such a shining design—God marked it with a star as an exclamation point.
King Herod didn’t agree with the news of a great King. “When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.” (Matt. 2:3). I understand why Herod was upset. I guess? His jealousy and fear drove him to hate. But what of the people? Weren’t they praying for a Messiah? They had heard the prophesies. As the Magi referenced the birth to Herod. “But you, Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.” (Matt.2:6). How could they think the birth of Jesus a bad thing? The same way I can look at Christmas with frustration as I shutter at my schedule and complain. The same way I might wrap gifts, but not receive The gift. God had been sending out the birth announcement since the beginning. He sent a Redeemer. A Shepherd. God’s plan and Ah-Struck Wonder, the Savior, His son, Jesus Christ.
I pray you accept God’s best idea EVER this Christmas Season.