Photo Credit: Mikaela Hamilton
This month I want to help us prepare for Christmas by reflecting on God’s Grace. If you want an overview of what I’m trying to accomplish, read the first post in this blog series called A Month To Remember God’s Grace.
Below is the reflection for today.
DECEMBER 22 – GRACE MEANS WE CAN BE ORDINARY
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
- Matthew 1:18 – 20
Aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:11
Sometimes we think we need to make a big splash for God, so that our lives leave a ripple across the waters of human history. To do this we feel that we need a rugged faith. We need to step up our game. We need to get radical. We need to lay it all down for Jesus, since Jesus laid it all down for us.
Honestly I’m not sure where this call to radical faith comes from. Sure I know there are many stories in the Bible of people who do extraordinary things that get noticed and written down, but there are just as many, if not more stories of ordinary people, who are basically unknown.
Here are a few examples from the Bible of people who didn’t get a lot of ink set aside for their story. Enoch walked with God. Roughly 600,000 unknown people walked out of Egypt with Moses. 7,000 unnamed people refused to worship Baal. Matthias and Bartholomew were two disciples who didn’t seem to make much of a difference.
So here is a question to consider: Is the lack of attention given to these men and women in direct correlation to a lack of commitment? I don’t think so. After all, consider Jesus’ earthly dad, Joseph. He slips off the pages of history soon after Jesus’ birth. Is this because he was lukewarm and uncommitted? No. Most likely it’s because he was called like us to live an ordinary life.
You see grace means ordinary people are loved by an extraordinary God.
If we don’t understand this we will end up feeling that our life is constantly almost pleasing to God. We will also live with a vague sense of guilt, as if we are on the J/V team, a bit of a second-class Christian, because our lives are not as extraordinary and thrilling as they could be. This is nonsense. Grace means we can be ordinary because Jesus is extraordinary.
This understanding does not lead us to lower expectations or to drift into passivity. Instead this understanding of grace leads us to recover and rediscover the joy of being ordinary.
In what ways is your life ordinary? How does knowing Jesus help you to embrace being ordinary?