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*Update: Yes we are well aware that this is nearly a month late posting to the website. Christmas in a new country is pretty hectic and while we mailed out many copies of this around Christmas time to those supporters who financially had given to our work throughout 2020 we thought that those who do not have the capacity to give financially would also like to hear what is going on. Even if it is a month late.
Extra Out of Ordinary
Devotional December, 2020 – Lynette Smith
As I ponder the story of that first Christmas, I notice not only the spectacular gift that God sent to Earth, but also that the extraordinary was sent during a time when everything was ordinary. A time that was normal, a time that was the everyday-ness, the mundane, the routine, and dare I say, it was hopeless, without any sort of end or change to be seen. Joseph and Mary lived in a time when the government ruled heavily as they and their neighbors carried out the daily tasks of necessity and survival. Nothing flashy, exciting, or inspiring to be expected. In fact, neither of the gospels, Luke or Matthew that retell the story of the first Christmas, have much in the way of details outside of the who and the dialogue. We don’t know exactly what time of day it was, where she was, or what she was doing when the angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her of what was to come. I venture to say the reason was not only unimportant to the message, but those details were ordinary. They were normal and unworthy of ink on a page.
I would say that is how I feel about most of my everyday living. It is the basics, the necessary tasks, the normal, and the mundane which fill my days. They are nothing special to report. Seemingly endless chores of laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning house, grocery shopping, school, and the list could continue. I am sure it is much the same for you. The day to day stuff that none of us would label as special, spectacular, or extraordinary. Right? Maybe there are times were we share in that hopeless feeling that many people, even believers, in the time of Joseph and Mary probably felt. The same routine, the same news, the same story, the day in and day out, the never going to change that leads us to the feeling of being stuck in a endless spinning cycle. But those are not the same adjectives we use to describe the story of the first Christmas and neither should we label the days of the believer’s life. Certainly, we have and will always have the routine chores that must be done. Yet, it is within those times that our character is developed, our witness is shared, and where God will bring about the EXTRAordinary. That is how it was for Mary, for Joseph, for the characters of the Bible, and no doubt for many of the days we do not read about of Jesus’ life here on Earth. The foretelling of his birth was spectacular; his birth, extraordinary; his recorded days of ministry, awe-inspiring; his last days, bold; and his death, unimaginable. All written down, shared, remembered, and still causing people to bow at the sound of His name. But those are only the highlights, the cliff notes, the tips of the mountains, and the pits of the valleys. It is not every detail of each day and every moment and it is not the middle ground of the journey.
So why is it that we forget that for our own lives? It was in the ordinary that Mary demonstrated her faithfulness, her work ethic, her joy for the Lord, and her obedience. It was because of that ordinary time that God knew Mary was the right woman, in our modern times we would consider her a girl with no qualifications, to carry and mother the Son of of God. It was because of that ordinary time that God knew Joseph was the right man to marry the first and only pregnant virgin and raise the Son of God to be about His Father’s business. So why is it in these modern times that we are surprised when God calls the ordinary, the unqualified, the ‘too young’, the ‘too old’, or anyone that by human standards is not the correct person for the job? Why do we forget that God uses the simple catcher of fish to be a follower and to be a fisher of men? Or a tax collector to be a disciple and to wash the dirty feet of other people? Why do we forget that God sent a messenger to an ordinary girl in the tiny town of Nazareth; that she was to be married to a simple carpenter from her hometown; that she bore a baby born in the lowly shelter of a manger where animals were kept; that his arrival was announced first to the poorest of sheep keepers; that the world would be saved through a perfect, stainless, and complete sacrifice; that humans of all class, gender, race, nationality, age, and every condition imaginable could enter into Heaven and live for eternity with Him? Why do we forget? Why do we forget that God’s ways are not our ways; that the ways of the Spirit are not bound by human ways or understanding; that God has an incomprehensible love for each and every one of us; and that He will bring glory to Himself through our weaknesses? Why do we forget that the extraordinary happens from within the normal and in the midst of the ordinary?
May we remember our highlights and the times God elevated us from the mire, but not forget the importance of the everyday and the ordinary. May we be faithful, hardworking, and obedient in the small or seemingly insignificant, so that we can be called to more. May we be willing to be weak and lessened to allow God’s opportunity to show His strength and His glory. May each task we do be done with joy and to bring glory to our Lord. May we not be caught up in finding or making the extraordinary this Christmas and remember that each day is a new day filled with the promises and the hope from the greatest gift we could ever be offered. May we accept it for ourselves as we tell others it is available for them, also.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Blessed New Year, & All Glory Be To God.
Prayer & Praise
1. Praise – for our safe arrival & establishment of our home. Prayer as we continue to transition and learn culture and language
2. Praise & Prayer – continued health of our family and partners
3. Prayer – for us to find the areas God has planned for which to concentrate our ministries & for new relationships to be strengthened in working & living life together
4. Praise & Prayer – We are 96% regularly funded (THANK YOU!) Praying for new C2M (Called to More) partners to reach & sustain 100%.