Thursday, December 24, 2009


Sunset on the Nile.

 Lately I have been reading through some of the Old Testament prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah. These men foretold of Israel's imminent discipline, but also of the coming One who would rule righteously and serve as a Good Shepherd to the flock of Israel and ultimately the whole world.

  As I read the prophecies and imagine the expectant waiting of hundreds of years for this promised Messiah, I am amazed at the simplicity of the Christmas story. In fact, I really don't understand it - it is too simple and uncomplicated. Jesus' coming had been promised since Creation, yet when He arrived on the scene, He came as a helpless babe, was wrapped in swaddling clothes and born in a lowly stable - not the regal entrance a king deserves. And the welcoming committee consisted of hillside shepherds - not exactly the upper crust of society. I tell you, I just don't get it.
  The other day, a friend and I were discussing how we often put God in a box. We believe He will act according to our "logic" and what may make perfect sense to us. Or we try and pin Him to a pattern - He did it this way in this past, so we expect Him to repeat a specific mode of operation. It makes sense, doesn't it?

 But, if you review Biblical history, you see that God rarely repeated His miraculous works, choosing instead to work in ways that, in a sense, blew the minds of those involved. Why not show off His power, creativity and glory? Why not "wow" the onlookers with great displays of might? He is God, isn't He? And, as the Bible tells us, His ways and thoughts are far beyond ours.

 So, that brings me back to the birth of Jesus - why is it so simple? I certainly don't comprehend it, but I am amazed. Maybe this humble entrance was to show that Christ truly became one of us - flesh and blood - the Creator becoming like the creation. And that is perhaps the most remarkable miracle of all - our awesome, everlasting God choosing to enter our world, not as a triumphant stately king, but as a little infant. I am amazed at that thought.

 I am hoping that when we reach heaven, God will tell us the "rest of the story" for the many unanswered questions we have now. Did Adam have a bellybutton? ; ) What was the Garden of Eden like? What did Noah's ark look like? How did He get the pairs of animals there? Why did He choose people like Moses, David, Rahab, Peter? What did Jesus write in the dust in the story in John 8? Not that I expect God to "defend" why He did this or that, but I am just curious as to the behind-the-scenes production notes.

But in the meantime, we don't have to "understand" God's ways to truly appreciate them. And that is where faith comes in - believing and trusting even though we have don't have 20/20, 3-D vision of God's incredible acts and His sovereign purposes throughout history. That leaves us in the most appropriate posture for this time of year - kneeling in amazement before Immanuel, "God with us."

Merry Christmas!!

My first Christmas in Uganda, Dec. 2006.


  1. Thank you Ruthie--all those questions are ones in my own mind for asking God when I get to Heaven. Additionally, I'd love to have His private conversations and exhortations to His disciples on MP3! (-:

  2. Thank you for the comment, Lauren! Ooh, yes, I would also love to hear Jesus' private conversations with His disciples. I am sure what we have recorded in the Gospels is just the top of the iceberg of what Jesus did and taught.