Anyone who knows me knows that once I see a movie one time, I have no desire to see it again. However, earlier this week, I watched "The Nativity Story" movie with my family. I had seen this movie once before, but I decided to watch it again.
In my opinion, this film is one of the best films ever made about the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It blessed my heart all over again in so many ways. As I was watching this film, God pointed out three important ways that He works in people's lives to bring about His will. Allow me to share those with you.
First, God showed me that when He tells someone to do something, it won't always be easy. In the laid-back atmosphere that many of us create for ourselves and our families during the Christmas season, we oftentimes forget that the journey that Mary and Joseph took to Bethlehem was not an easy one. The Nativity Story depicted that Joseph walked while Mary rode a donkey; no doubt they faced harsh weather while traveling; and perhaps they had to defend themselves against robbers.
When Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem, I am sure they were thinking that for the birth of the Son of God, a place would certainly have been prepared. But not so. There wasn't room in any of the inns for the Saviour to be born in comfort. Joseph and Mary had to spend the night in a stable.
Further, after Christ was delivered, Joseph and Mary could not even enjoy much needed rest. An angel came to Joseph to tell him that King Herod had dispatched his soldiers to seek the Child and kill Him. This angel commanded Joseph to get up and flee with Mary and the Baby to Egypt. Now, Joseph and Mary had to travel hundreds of miles across desert and wilderness terrain to escape Herod's army and keep the new born Christ safe.
When God commands us to do something, it won't always be the easiest and most comfortable thing to do. But God's will will always be done if we follow His instructions.
Second, God showed me in The Nativity Story that poor people hold a special place in His heart. There is no indication in the Bible that Joseph and Mary were rich. Jesus Christ was born into abject poverty, and when Christ began His ministry, He didn't go to the rich and religious, but to the poor and the sinners. (This tells me that there is something seriously wrong with the prosperity gospel.)
Scholars tell us that our rosy image of a wooden stable with a wooden manger filled with comfortable hay, and surrounded by farm animals is a misnomer. A "stable" for Joseph and Mary would have been nothing more than a cold, stone cave with a wooden gate built across the front to keep wild animals out. And the manger would have simply been a stone trough that the livestock would drink from.
We sometimes assume that God favors rich people because we mistakenly see having a lot of money as God's favor on a person's life. While this is sometimes true, we must remember that God showers His blessings upon His people in many different ways.
Third, I realized that when God sets His plans in motion, He is not in a hurry to bring them to pass. We must be reminded that it took Jesus Christ 4,000 years to come to earth. God promised salvation to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, but Christ didn't fulfill that promise until 4,000 years later when He was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane and taken to be crucified on Calvary. Further, God has promised us in the Bible that Christ will come again. It has been 2,000 years since that promise, and it hasn't happened yet. But rest assured He's coming.
I am sure that the Jews of Christ's day were expecting the Messiah to come as a full-grown man Who would overthrow the Roman government, cleanse the temple, and restore Israel to her rightful place. Instead, God chose to send His Son as a baby to a lowly family. Christ would wait 30 years before He even began His public ministry. The Jews were not expecting that kind of Messiah.
As the old folks say, "God works in mysterious ways." Simply because we do not understand everything about the way God is working in our lives, does not mean that His will is not being done. Just remember that "when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law..." (Galatians 4:4-5)
God bless you and your family as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ this Christmas.