I love the Christmas story, and I love the Christmas season. It is thrilling to think about the arrival of Emmanuel, the One conceived by the Holy Spirit who made His entrance into this world. It is inspiring to hear about the mighty angel chorus announcing the birth of the Savior to the shepherds in the fields.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14, NIV).
And yet in the midst of the story, it is easy to forget that the miraculous took place against the back drop of the ordinary.
Mary was nine months pregnant when the decree for the census was given. Traveling at the end of pregnancy is an unpleasant experience for any woman. Pictures depict Mary as riding on a donkey, which would have been uncomfortable. However, she may have made the journey on foot. Either way, conditions were not ideal for the trip, and Mary was most likely miserable.
Bethlehem was crowded, and there were no rooms available for Joseph and Mary. They were able to find shelter in a stable when the time came for the Baby to be born, and the Savior of the World was laid in a manger—a feeding trough for animals.
Glory to God in the highest. Yes.
Peace on earth. Yes.
A miracle arrived…in a very ordinary setting.
We need to remember as we go about our daily lives to be aware of God at work. Pastor Randy Frazee, refers to two stories unfolding simultaneously—The Lower Story and The Upper Story.
The Lower Story deals with the here and now, what we see and experience in the moment. It’s ordinary life, as we take care of the details—our family, conflict at work, gridlock traffic, and racing the clock to get everyone to church on time. It’s our story.
“In the Upper Story we discover what God is up to; how he is weaving our story into his one divine love story. The Upper Story is God’s Story” (Randy Frazee, 2011).
The Upper Story is harder to see, but it’s just as real (and even more so) than the Lower Story.
Don’t get stuck in the Lower Story, even when things are going well. Keep your eyes open to the Upper Story.
“Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19, NIV).
Mary certainly didn’t understand the events as they occurred, but she trusted the Lord to fulfill His promises. She couldn’t see clearly how her Baby Boy would be the Messiah, but she trusted the Lord to accomplish His plans.
As you lead, as you make business decisions, as you live every day, ordinary life, in the good times and the bad times, keep your heart tuned to Jesus and the Upper Story. How is He revealing Himself? How can you represent Him in each situation?
God works all things for the good of those who love Him (the Lower Story) and are called according to His purposes (the Upper Story) (Romans 8:28). Ponder and treasure His faithfulness, as He lovingly weaves the miraculous upon the strands of the mundane.