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Finding God's Goodness in Life's Disappointments

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Crisis At Christmas Is Nothing New

Christmas last year

Merry Christmas to all! I hope this finds you enjoying the season. It has been a fun and busy week for me with lots of adventure! 
My sister and her family are here for the holidays so life is busy with my 3 nephews and all the Christmas preparations. Children make life fun. Christmas day will be spent with my parents, Price, my sister and her family and Mal and Rob will come in sometime in the afternoon.
Below is the article that appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times this week.

Crisis Is Nothing New At Christmas
Kerrville Daily Times Article 
December 23rd, 2011
Kathleen Maxwell

Have you ever made plans and things just didn’t turn out the way you expected? I have to say there have been many things that haven’t turned out the way I had expected or planned. Two thousand years ago, things were not going the way Mary and Joseph had planned either. They were in love and engaged. I am sure, like most couples, they had held hands and chatted about their dreams together.
Suddenly an angel appeared to Mary and told her of another plan. This plan was one that actually put her in danger of much judgement and even possible death. It was not OK for a girl to be expecting without being married. From Joseph’s point of view, he had to really decide how much he loved and trusted Mary. Seriously, this story is a little out there; however, I believe it is true. God is not always predictable and doesn’t always do things the way we expect. I guess that is why it is called a walk of faith. God sent Jesus to be Immanuel, which is translated, “God with us.”  Matthew 1:23
When you think about it, what more could we really want in life other than for God to be with us in every situation in life. What an incredible gift! I found myself the other day in an unexpected situation that could have been quite intense but I had been singing earlier that morning, “Come let us adore Him.” That song kept ringing in my ears in the midst of the situation. I was at perfect peace. The focus of my day was adoring Him. I think the problem is that most of us don’t remember to use the gift that has been given in Jesus. We can be at perfect peace in any situation if we choose and hold His hand and make Him our focus. 
Let’s go back to the Christmas story. There was crisis in Bethlehem. Mary was expecting and wasn’t married. There was no place for them to stay when they arrived in Bethlehem to give birth. Joseph had to trust that Mary was being honest with him and then there is an order to kill all the babies under two in the neighborhood. Can you imagine if Obama declared to kill all the baby boys under two? It would certainly be a national crisis. We really don’t have anything to complain about.  
Maybe your crisis is different. Maybe it is a divorce you didn’t want. Perhaps it is the death of a loved one or someone you love is very sick. It could be a  financial crisis you are looking at. It might be that you have someone you love caught in an addiction and it is destroying your relationship. Crisis sometimes barges in unannounced and makes itself at home.
Mary chose to focus on God and the precious gift she was given that I am sure she didn’t understand. This is a good lesson for us. Focus on God in the midst of crisis is what will keep us moving through the crisis and give us peace. The alternative is to be overwhelmed by our circumstances. She didn’t have to understand, she loved God and focused on Him and loved Joseph. This is good advice. As believers, we often are way too judgmental and simply need to focus on God and love those he puts around us. Actually, Jesus came so we could not only have the capacity to love those that love us but to love those that don’t. We don’t have to understand or figure things out, we simply need to love as Jesus did. When we do that, our trust grows in our Savior. 
If we don’t focus on God in the midst of crisis, we will miss the gifts in the crisis. 
In the midst of any crisis there are blessings. The problem is we often have to look hard enough to find them. As I have journeyed the past three years watching my late husband battle cancer and then leave this Earth, I can say I have encountered crisis that, often times, felt like a nightmare after my father was hospitalized nine times in the 18 months that followed. There were times I wasn’t sure I was going to survive the trauma, but I kept my focus on God. It was all I had to hang on to. In the midst of all the disappointments, I have found numerous blessings and know God in a way I had never experienced in my 42 years as a Christian. I will have to confess, it has taken a discipline to focus on the gifts in my crisis and some days I haven’t done so well.
Often times at Christmas I give gifts and I wonder if people will like them, but God was pretty confident in the gift he gave. 
In Isaiah 9:6, 7 he tells about the gift of Jesus. He describes him as, “Wonderful counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace.” Wonderful counselor means Jesus is our go between. He goes between us and any problem we have. Mighty God means He is bigger than any problem we face. Prince of Peace says that we have a God-given right to walk in peace in any situation. Jesus came to be our Prince of Peace. That means we have an escort in any situation. A prince rules and escorts. For me personally, I often picture myself being escorted by Him and overwhelming peace comes over me.
Luke 1:37, Mary replied to God in the midst of her crisis, “Be it unto me, according to your word.” She said yes to God. She trusted Him. She embraced her trial, focused on Him and let God escort her thru the situation; then she discovered the most incredible gift. 
Can you follow Mary’s example? Can I? Have you accepted the gift of Jesus? It is a question we must all ask ourselves. If we do, we just might discover the most incredible gifts of life.


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