Thursday, December 17, 2015

The True Followers

This Christmas, God has been revealing new things to me about the Christmas story that He never has before... and its still not perfectly clear in my head (like so many big truths and revelations from the God of the universe... my mind cannot quite grasp the whole thing) so forgive me if this post isn't my most clear.

The true followers in the Christmas Story are the shepherds and the wise men.

I have listened to the Christmas Story for three decades now, and read and studied and heard lessons from many different perspectives of the story and things to be learned and applied to my own life.  But, I have always tuned in more to the events in the lives of Mary and Joseph and how their obedience and faithfulness to God's plan was to be applied to my life.

It is true, Mary and Joseph, are very note-worthy and virtuous people in this story, from whom much can be learned.  They each accepted God's plan for them, in a very scary and tumultuous time and accepted callings for which they were not equipped, but God equipped them in all ways at the proper time.  There surely are a great number of lessons to be learned from Mary and Joseph -- and, as a woman and mother, it is very easy to identify with Mary, especially as an expectant mother during the Christmas season.

What I have overlooked for years, however, is that the shepherds and wise men, not Mary and Joseph, were, in fact, the first followers of Jesus.

Mary and Joseph accepted God's calling for them, and they each knew they had been given a very blessed and high calling... but I think each of them were still learning and still pondering what this blessing meant and how this child would be the Savior.  Not to mention, each was a young newlywed, and a first-time parent learning how to provide for one another and their newborn baby during a very dangerous time in history.  Although I cannot know, I do not think these young parents were worshiping their baby upon his entrance into the world any more than all first time parents marvel and stand in awe of their first-born baby upon his or her entrance into the world.

The shepherds and the wise men, however, they followed Jesus.  They worshiped Jesus.  They literally fell to their knees before a newborn baby -- one of the most helpless creatures in the world.

Mary and Joseph obeyed God when things maybe didn't make perfect sense... but these shepherds and wise men did the incomprehensible -- they traveled miles and miles to see a newborn, to which they had no family connection -- not even Jesus' grandmothers came to visit him when he was born -- and then, upon finding this one, specific newborn babe (which I'm sure there were at least a moderate selection of newborns at the time), they fell to their knees and worshiped him.

They worshiped a newborn.

Not only could this "Savior", this "King of Kings" -- even if He was that, not grant them wishes, He could not give absolution, He could not bestow land or forgive debts -- He was a newborn!!!  He could not even talk, or walk, or hold up His head.  Of all the Kings to worship, to bring expensive gifts, these first followers groveled before a baby that could do nothing for them.

I have never thought about this before... I have learned that God called the highest, wisest kings AND the lowliest, loneliest, uneducated working class to witness this miracle... but I never thought about the actual actions and faithfulness of those who were called -- both the wise men and shepherds.

They really were the first followers of Christ; The first worshipers of Jesus; The first to choose blind faith over any reason for the sake of The Son of God.  

Talk about a lesson and example to apply to my own life... yes Mary and Joseph's lives make good examples, but the wise men and shepherds obeyed, followed, and worshiped.  That is the example I want to emulate.

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