From the Well - 12/17/2015

Think with me for a moment about a hypothetical couple. The couple marries in June after their graduation from college (Let’s say Duke University). They’ve been married for five years. The wife works at BB&T and is finishing up her master’s degree in business administration. The husband teaches High School history at West Forsyth and is an assistant football coach. They’ve just purchased their first house after several years of living in an apartment. The wife works out at the YMCA three nights a week and her husband joins her when it is not football season. She always goes to his football games on Friday nights. They have a wonderful, well-organized, and predictable life.

They follow their individual work schedules during the week and often bring work home from the school and office. Several times a year they go out of town on the weekend—to the beach or mountains. They love to go skiing at least once during the winter months.

Their life is flexible and often spontaneous. If someone calls and says lets go to the Village Tavern for drinks and super, they adjust their schedule to make it happen. They will sometimes take in a movie on Saturday afternoon and then go uptown Winston-Salem to a nice restaurant for dinner. They may go to Milner’s, Fratellis Steakhouse, or Benardin’s. They are used to setting their own agenda and determining their own fate. It’s all very nice.

Now, bear with me a few more minutes as we think about what happens to this couple and their lives when the Clear Blue Easy Pregnancy Test informs them that they may be pregnant. They go to the doctor for a confirmation and she tells them what they already suspect, “YOU’RE PREGNANT.” It’s not a planned pregnancy. The couple spends a few days in shock and then settles into an undercurrent of excitement and expectation.

They immediately begin to make plans for what they think is going to be a slight change in their life. They remove the computer station, exercise bike, weights, and boxes of books from the spare bedroom in their new home in order to make room for a nursery. Safety plugs are placed into all the receptacles and the cabinets are childproofed. Breakables are removed from tables and put up high and the carpet is cleaned and inspected to make way for a young crawler.

The couple attends birthing classes at the hospital, they go to the doctor every three to four weeks, spend a ton of money on baby stuff, get sick every morning for the first three months (husband and wife), and begin to gain weight (again both husband and wife). Just when they think all the necessary adjustments and changes have been made the tiny bundle of joy, cries, and smells arrives and suddenly the three-day-old who has his days and nights backwards begins to change every conceivable part of their lives.

Do they continue to set their own schedules and calendars? No! As far as the baby is concerned there is only one schedule, the baby’s. Do they still work out two or three nights a week? No! Dad lifts weights at home and mom slips off to the YMCA one day a week if she is lucky. Do they go out on the weekends and dine at Milner’s, Fratellis Steakhouse, or Benardin’s? No! If they go out at all it is to McDonalds, Burger King, or Chick-fi-la. It has to be a place that doesn’t have table cloths or cloth napkins. As their little pride and joy grows, they usually try to find a corner seat at the fast food restaurant so junior cannot throw ketchup covered French-fries into some nice person’s salad.

This lovely young couple no longer plans trips out of town and if they do decide to visit parents who live in another state, it takes three weeks of planning and a U-Haul trailer for all the luggage and baby paraphernalia—port-a-crib, infant carrier, baby food, bottles, diapers, stroller, toys, blankets, several changes of clothes, and canisters of formula.

One day the couple realizes that everything in their life has changed—The way they function at home, operate at work, the way they perceive things, and the way they think about the future has all changed. They don’t sleep as hard or as long as they once did, there’s not much alone time, and all conversation is about the baby or baby talk with their child.

So why does this couple make all of these changes? Why do they make room in their lives for a new life? They change and make room in their life because they love their son and are willing to do anything for him and his future.

So, let’s jump backwards a couple of thousand years and look at Joseph. Things are going well for this young man. He has a predictable world. He is a carpenter engaged to a nice girl named Mary. Up until the time when Mary tells him that she is carrying God’s son, everything in Joseph’s life is fairly normal for a 1st century Jewish man.

Consider Mary—just a simple girl really—who wants to get married and be a good wife to the local carpenter. Suddenly, her life is turned upside down when an angel visits bringing her news of God’s plan.

Look at the Shepherds out in their fields minding their own business. They have enough concerns keeping their sheep safe at night. Suddenly an angel appears on the scene and proclaims to them, “Behold I bring you tidings of great joy.” They are then urged to abandon their sheep and follow a star to find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger.

There are Wisemen, 12 disciples and their families, sick, hungry, and hurting whose lives will be changed forever. The young 21st century couple and the first century Mary and Joseph make room in their lives for a baby. So, for those of us who barely have room in our lives for family, work, friends, church, and play, can we make room for the Christ Child? Think about it.

Matthew