As we are here in this season of Advent, preparing ourselves to be exposed once again to the story of Christ’s birth, I cannot resist admitting that the whole story is rather complicated, non-ideal and full of paradoxes.
We have grown accustomed to the story throughout the time and made it nice, “scented” and perfect. But it was very far from perfect. Just the fact that Mary was expecting a baby out of wedlock is not an ideal situation. Traveling from Nazareth to Bethlehem (100 miles) in her last weeks of pregnancy is not an ideal situation. Delivering a child in a manger is not an ideal situation. King Herod killed little children. This is a terrible situation! Mary and Joseph with their little Jesus had to flee to Egypt and stay outside of their home country for several months, again, not an ideal situation. Simeon prophesied Mary that her child will be a sign that will be opposed and that a sword will pierce her own soul. Not an ideal situation.
After realizing all the difficulties and circumstances that Mary, Joseph and Jesus had to go through, do we still expect our lives to be perfectly smooth, without disruptions and ideal?
Actually it seems that when we are active parts of God’s doing, living in, through and for the Gospel of Jesus Christ our lives are supposed to be rocked in this world. I do not understand why it has to be this way, but it is evident throughout history that exactly when those times of the non-ideal situations are confronted with the message and character of the Gospel, they bring forth the most unprecedented blessings. It is obvious that God works right through the non-ideal situations, lives and times full of paradoxes.
When we are weak, then we are strong, as Apostle Paul states in 2 Corinthians 12:10. Nothing is perfect. (After all, what is “perfect” and what is “ideal”? The limited mental concepts of our minds?) Or better said in this imperfection of life, life is actually perfect – the way it is supposed to be. And the journey of life, however non-ideal, becomes the goal itself and the meaning of life, which is to bring glory to the One who gave us this life in spite of the messiness and imperfection around us.
It is not easy and it hurts. I know, I am a perfectionist.
Do you suffer? Have you lost your child or your spouse? Is your health weakened? Have you lost your job? Do you struggle with finances? Have you failed or have you been betrayed?
All of us fall into some of the categories above.
I have learned that when my life is too ideal, I am more inclined to go astray and not to be involved in God’s doing and God’s mission. On the contrary, when my life gets difficult and I am weak and helpless it is when God can work in my life and through me in the lives of others.
The question is thus, what do we really want from our lives? In which way do we want to have them “ideal”? What do we learn from the story of Christ’s birth? I read it that difficulties and disruptions are God’s blessings through which cracks leaks the divine nutrition for our maturing in faith.
Written by Lubos Dzuriak
Lubos Dzuriak is serving as our pastoral intern. Lubos is originally from Slovakia, he and his wife, Diane, have four children and reside in Austria. Currently, Lubos is a student at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond (BTSR), graduating this spring. In addition to his studies at BTSR, Lubos studied economics in Slovakia, earning the academic title Engineer of Economy (equivalent to an MBA); founded building companies in Austria and Slovakia; speaks three languages, Slovak, English, and German; and is involved with Baptist churches in Slovakia.