I often struggle to string together words during the Advent season. I find myself typing in futility, then backspacing, then typing some more, then thinking, "No, that's stupid" then backspacing all over again. I find myself feeling inadequate and unqualified to share the words that scream from the core of my being: GOD IS WORTHY, AND YOU ARE NOT, AND THAT'S WHY THIS SEASON IS SO CRUCIAL.
My humanity can never, and will never, be worthy of celebration because His birth saved us all from death. In the birth of Jesus, God Himself came to earth so that he could instruct generations of Christians to be the light of the world through his sinless life.
He lived out what we, as Christians, strive to become. He embodied the death that we, as sinners, deserved. When He was nothing but so deeply perfect, the worth of His life was met with indifference and He died on the cross.
He died on a cross so that we could be forgiven. So that we might experience the promise of grace. So that there might be peace between God and humanity. He is so kind, and so good, and so perfect, and once, he was a baby.
This baby was born in the most humble of conditions. I look at his birth story and think about how Mary must've felt in the midst of it all. Humbled to be giving birth to the Savior of the world; yet frightened at the prospect of the task before her--both birthing and raising the child; somehow also filled to the brim with peace at the knowledge of God's provision, protection, and care for the world. She must've been the most kind, bright, and wise young woman. I wish I could befriend Mary and know her spirit.
I think about how good of a man Joseph was. He took on the role of parenting a child who was not his, forgoing his own reputation in order to heed the call of his Father, understanding that the task at hand was more than just a duty, but a calling, a fulfillment to an age-old prophecy.
I've learned a lot this season about how harmoniously metaphorical the entire story of Jesus's life was. How, from the prophecies from the Old Testament--dating back to the Garden of Eden, all the way to Malachi--Jesus's presence, timing, and life made sense.
In just over a week, I'll be flying to the other side of the world to experience the Holy Land for myself. I'll get to see with my own two eyes the places that were the backdrop of Jesus's very existence. All of the places mentioned in the Bible that are now nothing more than locations on a map to me will come to life right before my eyes. I AM ECSTATIC. I never thought I'd get to do something so cool, but I see how clearly the Lord has provided a path for this trip.
During this Advent season, I've prayed these words: "Lord, make this story seem real to me. Bring it to life before my eyes. Make it personal." As a college student, it can be challenging to really soak in the glory of the Christmas story during the early December finals craze when you're trying to memorize 172 flashcards for an exam. But in the midst of those weeks, I prayed this prayer, honestly kind of forgetting that I would be going to Israel at the end of the month.
The Lord is so good at fulfilling prophecies. I've seen it play out in my own life, and what I love is that these stories are always being sewn. They never stop. In one way or another, the thread of one story will always affect you on some level and will continue to be woven in and out and through your life forevermore. Jesus's birth was prophesied throughout the entire Old Testament, and today, His life and death has left us all changed, left for the better, because of his deep love and humble service.
I'm trusting that He is currently making room in my heart for the glorious promise that Jesus's whole story will seem very real and personal to me in a matter of days.
If you can, be praying for this trip and for the safety of our entire group while studying abroad. I'm sure it's going to be a time abounding with blessing, joy, clarity, and fulfillment of many prophecies.
Merry Christmas, y'all. Hope it's been a good one.