The angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Mary. God is honoring you. Look! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. –Luke 1:30-31
If I were God, I would have arranged things differently.
First, no angel during Mary and Joseph’s engagement. That way they could have had the traditional, multi-day, joyous Jewish wedding celebration. Also, Joseph wouldn’t have had to think of ways to break their engagement. The angel could appear after the festivities, instructing them not to consummate their marriage because God had plans. I’d assume that a radiating, scary angelic visitation would be a great form of birth control.
Also, I would not have told the wisemen about Jesus’ birth until much later. And when I did, I would have given them a map. Keep Herod out of it.
Of course, God had other designs, resulting in angst, turmoil, and even violence.
God continues breaking into our lives, throwing away the less-painful script. We’re nudged to get involved in someone’s life, stand up for a cause, or start a new venture. We’re also confronted with situations that can bring us to our knees. Whatever it is, the future may appear messy, uncertain.
Yet the path ahead also invites us to tap an inner strength we never knew existed if we’d kept to the happy script. How else can we see angels and talk back to them?
“I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be with me just as you have said.” (Luke 1:38)
Each year at Christmas I want to grow more comfortable with God’s sloppy, disruptive plans. In such chaos the Christ child is born more intimately than before.
How good it is that God’s ways aren’t our ways.