Have you ever been in the midst of a storm and felt a crazy, unmerited sense of peace? Well, I can now 100% attest to that. I have felt peace before but never to the illogical level that I felt this December. Martin and I were almost dumbfounded by this sense of peace that basically took over. Let me explain, for months Martin and I had been planning a Christmas Musical for our church. So much so, that Martin actually rewrote the entire thing. Yep, it’s been a tad busy around the church. So as December was approaching we had to bulk up for this crazy ride. The Sanctuary was decorated with poinsettias, wreaths, and shiny red bows. A Christmas tree was decorated in Martin’s office for our special Advent videos. And on the front church lawn, Pastor Tim and I assembled the Nativity Scene. The front lawn was adorned with brightly colored camels, wise men, shepherds, Mary, Joseph, and donkey.You probably noticed I missed the most essential piece to the whole happening, Baby Jesus. We couldn’t find him. We searched high and low. Every storage space that the Nativity Characters had ever been stored in was ruffled in search for him. Vehicles were searched and people were slightly accosted with the last time they saw him. Yet still, Baby Jesus remained to stay missing.
So naturally, I joked with Pastor Tim, because ironically enough the Christmas Program Martin and I had been working on is actually named, “Searching for a King”. HAH! I thought it was pretty incredible that we were searching for our Baby Jesus, and a couple of short weeks later we would be presenting a drama that embodied this exact conundrum.
As funny as I thought it was, people began to notice our missing manger. All of the wooden barnyard animals and Biblical people stood around a gaping hole in the front of our church. So we would tell them the name of the play and comically relieve them before telling them that our Baby Jesus was ACTUALLY missing. People began questioning our search skills and tactics, and possibly even our intelligence. Because seriously, how can we lose the only piece that matters. Seriously! It’s like mounting a wall stand for a flat screen TV and centering and facing all of the furniture to the TV, but missing the actual TV. Everything else is unnecessary without that one piece. Everything else was unnecessary without Jesus at the center of the Nativity.
Besides our missing Baby Jesus, the Christmas Musical all came together, the actors were amazing, the Choir was incredible and the children were little stars in the making. It was incredible how God took the reigns on this performance. The Choir sang with jubilance and wowed the crowd as expected, but meanwhile one actress was feeling ill and still performed wonderfully, ultimately saving the audience from my theatrical ineptitude. But possibly the biggest miracle of them all was Caroline, Martin’s 4 year old daughter, performing in the play perfectly. Caroline stole the show a little bit, because yes, she is that cute!
To top the already awesome “cake”, on Christmas Eve I got a text from a lady at church saying she was going to put a Baby Jesus in our church yard. She has the same type of Nativity and she didn’t want ours to be without Jesus on Christmas. So later that day our Nativity scene was completed with Jesus in his manger and Mary at his side.
I love it when things wrap up nicely. The play was great, Baby Jesus was back in the manger, and even a lost cell phone was found (read Tim’s last blog for that whole story).
All went well, but I have to tell you the buildup to the performance was stressful. Rewriting and recasting for the program was a tad overwhelming… but on the Friday before the Christmas Musical, I was pretty relaxed. I shouldn’t have been. There were so many moving parts. But that peace I spoke about at the beginning was a real and almost tangible thing. I knew there were a ton of things I could be worried about, but I just had a gigantic palpable peace about it all. I somehow knew that it was all going to go well.
In the Christmas Musical, Isaiah 9:6 was referred to stating, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Jesus is meant to be OUR Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, and Prince of Peace. But often times, we get so wrapped up in EVERYTHING else and we lose sight of these incredibly titles that Jesus has stored up and has available for us to experience.
My favorite scripture on peace and what I ultimately experienced last week is found in Philippians 4:6-7,
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I love the idea that we can experience this peace, in the midst of this craziness we call life. Peace is not something easily found, or understood for that matter. This scripture reveals that if we allow God to take the reigns and give Him our worries, we can experience this unmitigated peace. I find that thought alone comforting. The fact that God cares about us enough to take care of our worries, wow! Seriously, the creator of the universe and the expanse of Heaven CARES THAT MUCH!
As 2015 wraps up, I can’t complain too much. There are a lot of things happening that I maybe don’t like, but overall God has those concerns and is taking care of it all. Sometimes we get stressed because we can’t see God at work in our lives, but I promise you God doesn’t just perform BIG miracles, He also performs little miracles, even if it is just providing a painted wooden Baby Jesus in a manger. He is Jehovah-Jireh, God the Provider! This Christmas He has provided for everything, especially that EXTRA dose of Peace I needed. My hope for YOU in this New Year is that you would be able to experience this peace also.
On behalf of our staff and church, Happy New Year and God Bless!