OBSCURE + INSIGNIFICANT
Read Luke 2:1–7.
In a world where pop culture demands fame for significance, Luke’s narrative of the Christ child seems out of place. Each Christmas, I feel a little odd as I think about this classic Advent passage in Chapter 2. How strange to our modern sensibilities it is. I can’t help but remember the royal baby watch in England. A worldwide media sensation with billions of obsessed fans watched as Prince William and Kate prepared for their son to be born. Every network, newspaper, and radio station around the globe waited desperately for news of his arrival.
Why not with Jesus?
How different God’s ways really are from our own. We naturally attach great significance to those born to nobility and wealth, admiring the popular and the famous while ignoring the everyday and common among us. If we had planned things, Jesus would have been born with front-page news coverage and exclusive birth pictures on the cover of People magazine. God’s plan was much less “noticeable.”
His purposes are not tied to outward fame or success and our eternal significance isn’t dependent on the number of social media followers we have. Instead, Luke 2 helps us all slow down and reevaluate our perspectives on what makes for true significance. The very obscurity of this story challenges us to weigh carefully how we measure the importance of others and how we see ourselves.
The backwater town of Bethlehem with its lowly manger scene urges me to marvel once again at the power of God at work in the lives of the seemingly ordinary and insignificant. In all the rush that is the Christmas holiday, I can feel lost, obscure, and insignificant next to the sensational world rushing by.
Mary and Joseph seemed to be apparently ordinary people in the midst of an ordinary and obscure place. Shunned and ignored, they welcomed the birth of THE royal Son without the world even noticing. To not dismiss the ordinary in our world as insignificant is a beautiful reminder each Christmas.
Reading this passage can be a timely encouragement to remember how God really sees us. Sometimes we can feel overlooked, alone, and insignificant in our “ordinary” lives, questioning if God really knows who we are or what we’re doing as His servants. Like Mary and Joseph, God can seem distant and unconcerned with our lives, but the spiritual reality is much different than we can see or feel in the moment. Write down or journal a life situation that has you feeling “forgotten” by God, then ask Him for renewed understanding of how different His ways are than our own in that specific circumstance.
For RTP readers, this post was originally written for the 2014 Awana Advent Devotional – and has several distinct age specific applications available for families and couples to enjoy this Christmas.
Merry Christmas – Pastor B.