December 1, 2018

The real miracle story is not that Jesus came into the world 2,000 years ago, the miracle story we look at now is that He can be born in your hearts again today.  That God’s love draws near to touch your life in a personal way, that’s the miracle story.  No matter what you’ve done God doesn’t quit on you. I think there are three important things for us to know about the miracle story.

First of all, miracles are not necessarily the breaking of natural law.  A miracle is the revelation of God’s truth and the experience of God’s love. It is believing that Christ comes to touch our lives personally in our world today.  John says to us And the Word became flesh.  That is, Jesus was born, God comes to touch our lives, that’s the miracle 2,000 years ago and today.  It is true that Jesus fed the 5,000, healed the blind and raised Lazarus from the dead, but when you go back to look at these stories, you see that  it is not in these miracles that people begin to believe in Jesus. Rather, it is when they experience His forgiveness or come to know His love that their lives are changed. 

In his book, The Ride of Our Lives, Mike Leonard tells a story about the time his young daughter nearly drowned during a party at a friend’s home. All the adults were inside talking and there were so many children that no one noticed when his daughter, Megan slipped outside. Mike was outside playing basketball with the guys when someone passed the ball and it went into the pool. Mike jumped in the pool to get the ball when he saw something in the pool. He first recognized her red shoes and then he saw her face. As he grabbed his daughter and jumped up out of the pool, water came pouring out of her mouth and in a few moments she began to cough and then she began to cry.  He sat on the edge of the pool holding his daughter and he began shaking.  What if there hadn’t been an errant pass?  What if he hadn’t chased after that ball?  Twenty-five years later when he was driving across the country to see his daughter, Megan, grown up, married and expecting his first grandchild, he remembered that moment by the pool, “I always thought of that moment back in the pool as a miracle, a moment when God grew near and touched our lives in a special way.  I always gave thanks.”  I believe God does draw near and touch our lives, it is not the breaking of natural law, it is the revelation of truth, it is the experience of God’s grace.  The Word became flesh.  God comes to touch our lives.

Secondly, I believe the miracle story means that God doesn’t usually do it in amazing ways like stars in the night and angels and shepherds and Wise Men or even rescuing babies out of pools.  Usually, God draws near in very ordinary ways in our lives.  God draws near to touch our lives to guide, to bless, to inspire, to open our eyes to an opportunity, that’s when God draws near to bless our lives.  The issue is we often fail to see. John says when Jesus came into the world, the world knew Him not. That’s what Advent is about, it’s a season when you and I remember to open our eyes and our hearts to understand that God is seeking to draw closer, to touch your life in a personal way. 

Third, understand that the miracle story happened in a less than perfect situation.  Over the next few weeks, we will be looking at the greatest story ever told, but we have to remember it wasn’t a perfect, wonderful story as it was actually unfolding.  It wasn’t a perfect situation for an unmarried girl to become pregnant or to ride on a donkey to Bethlehem to give birth in a cattle stall. God made it a beautiful situation that we celebrate and remember so wonderfully today, but it wasn’t a perfect situation to begin with.  I don’t know if you’re like me, but I really like things to be perfect!  At St. Luke’s, we want to create the perfect worship services, the perfect music, the perfect sermons and the perfect Advent Devotional, but I know that perfection isn’t even realistic! It’s not going to happen! 

I know that you, too, likely want a perfect Christmas, with a perfectly decorated house, perfect meals and perfect celebrations with your friends and family.  Spoiler alert… it isn’t going to happen! Maybe as you go into this season you’re struggling with loneliness or maybe you’re struggling with grief because somebody you love has died.  Maybe you’re struggling with your health, a financial situation, or a relationship. Instead of worrying these struggles will keep you from experiencing a perfect Christmas, know that these are very situations where God’s love comes in! Miracles happen in the imperfect moments. You don’t have to wait for it to be perfect and don’t get upset when things don’t turn out  perfectly, for those are the moments when God draws closer.