“ The Gift Is Worth The Pain”
Imagine yourself living with your future mate. You are a husband who has a dear and special fiance in your life but to your surprise she is impregnated by someone else. Instead of treating the woman you love with disdain and going on a rant like your on a Jerry Springer television program all about the drama, you suck up the issue and instead just decide in your heart to be the best dad you can be to this coming child. To make matters worse though, soldiers come to your town and announce that everyone must transfer back to the town of their birth for an initial head count of the populace. The soldiers tell you in no certain terms that if you don't get on right away, you will be killed. You know.... I'm talking about... FEMA camps, soldiers, corrupt government...ya, you know.
Now, you are all prepared to go but you must be careful because your wife is nearly nine-months pregnant. You don't want to have the baby on the way to your destination, so you take it very slow...painfully slow. In fact, the trip is so physically, emotionally and mentally grueling, that by the time you and your wife arrive at your destination, you both want to physically collapse. You make it though to your families home in anticipation that there will be a comfy and warm bed for you and your girlfriend but when you get to your family's house, your relatives tell you that they are filled up with other family members already---that there are even relatives sleeping on the floor---ouch !
Off to the hotels, motels, anywhere decent to stay, after all, your significant other is ready to have a baby any day now. Trudge, trudge, trudge along you walk place to place. It's late at night now and you have not had success yet in finding a place to lay your and your fiance's head down. Frustrated ? You bet ! You finally find an old barn though with some animals in it and ask the owner if you can sleep there. He is at first not sure, but seeing your future wife, he asks you how “far along is she”? And you answer him; “nine months.” With a stern warning about you not suing him if “anything goes wrong in there”, and or calling the cops on you if your girlfriend does “anything funny” while in his barn, he agrees to let you stay for a night or two.
Looking for the best place to lay down, you and your future bride lay down together on some manure laced straw and your eyes begin to close when all of a sudden your girl friend starts to have labor pains. She is screaming in pain and you don't know what to do... there are no doctors, nurses, not even a mid-wife to help your wife in having the baby so you quickly grab some greasy rags from the top of some tractor parts near by and use them to help deliver the baby. After a lengthy labor, the little one is born, and it's a boy ! You wrap him in those dirty old rags you used earlier, just to keep him warm. You wish you had clean clothes, a real bed, some food but you have no such things.
To make matters worse, the child you decided you would adopt has no crib so you lay him down in a feeding troth that is there for the animals living in the barn. A bit more frustrated you are all alone to take care of your not yet wed-to wife and have a new born baby to take care of. Something hits your memory though, suddenly a smile comes to your face and you realize that you did all this because there is a huge wonderful gift for your being faithful through this whole journey. Suddenly, your tears turn to joy and a warm feeling and strength comes to your mind and body that indeed, your gift is greater than your pain. It is all now, as if you have been through a tough war but you have gained the entire victory.
OK, so if you have not guessed by now, I just shared a story similar to that of the story of Joesph and Mary from the Bible(Luke 2:1-7). As they languished in such similar matters as I described in the story I shared above, we can certainly all relate in and through our human experiences. The Military and FEMA were in Joesph and Mary's time, represented by the oppressive Roman soldiers of their time. We certainly do and sadly at that, see today many un-wed mothers these days but in the time of Mary, it was an extremely rare matter and very shameful at that to be pregnant and unmarried. Regarding being homeless and poor, well there has always been the poor I suppose that are looking for “shelter.” Regarding Mary and Joesph needing a place to “lay their weary heads” and as you probably are also well aware... many families these days kick out family members to fend for themselves all the time.
The whole matter with the Bible is a difficult thing to accept. God's ways have always been difficult to those who want a god they can manipulate in their own mind. God of the Bible is different though, much different than many who never get their gift known as Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. This is so because we can see that the Son of God was born to a woman who was impregnated by the Holy Spirit. As well, God Himself came to us in the form of His Son Jesus, not in grand conjecture, that some might phrase as “being born with a silver spoon in his mouth”, no... In fact Jesus Christ who is God, decided to come to all humanity as a special gift in the most humblest of ways. Born and then wrapped in rags, laid to sleep in a manger(an animal feeding troth), and later growing up only to be ridiculed and crucified on a cross even after He demonstrated through love, many miracles in healing people. Rejected also by many of the people he loved including those who called themselves “righteous” and “religious”, He finally and willingly gave Himself up to death so that He alone could bear all people's sins, even those who persecuted and hated Him.
So many “gods” are out there these days. People will often make claim how “wealth, power, and prestige” came about through these “gods” but there is only one true living God. He came to all of us wrapped as a gift. This gift, named Jesus the Messiah(Christ) came to set all captives free. Free from what you may ask? Well, free from the bondage of sin and of ourselves. If we truly believe by faith that God sent His Son Jesus to be born and later died on a cross for our sins, we are closer to Him than we may think. The True Gift and “reason for the season” that is; what many call as “Christmas”.... is Jesus Himself. With repentance in your heart for all your sins, realize that God came to us all some 2000 years ago, not to impress you with glitter, tinsel or flashing lights, He came to be your most precious and beautiful gift; His name is Jesus and all your struggles to this time, all your pain, has a prize well worth what you have suffered to this point. God's gift to you is eternal life. Are you ready for that ? Are you ready to get on past the pain and receive your gift this “Christmas” ? Go ahead, call on His name... the free and greatest gift for you is wrapped and waiting for you.
Pastor Paul Waldmiller~Black Robe Regiment Pastor