“Growing up and into a classical Christmas story that has been tied with the twine of “Christianity,” the tender cracks and imperfections exposed themselves as I got up closer. As I dug in deeper. As I questioned God and His realness. As I wondered, why would you ever come to save us in this way?
Mary, she was a judged woman. And Joseph was ready to abandon his fiancee for her crime of infidelity. The feeding trough was filthy, a lowly space for animals to drop their waste and heavy bodies. The baby, he was screaming. The night was cold. And the two must have wondered, as they shivered and prayed and waited on
their savior, where is the miracle in all of this?
A messy, little story with no edits made along the way…. This ain’t no pretty Christian story.
Not prim. Not pixy. Not perfect.
Not the manger. Nor the virgin. Not the myrrh.
Not made for the ears of Christians alone. Not merely for the ones used to bending their knees and bowing their heads.
This is a story for anyone, and any heart, who has ever needed a savior.
Someone to swoop in and convince you with a confidence that you are not alone and that just. you. wait, because
even through the unfavorable odds– a virgin, no shelter, no crib–the miracle arrives. And the music sweeps in. And the fog of the night clears. And a star shines so bright that it hypnotizes men to leave their fields & flock to follow.
This is a story, a Christmas story, for any soul that ever needed to know that God can make really beautiful things out of messes. And that He remembered us enough to come down and prove it so.”
"Today is Good Friday.
Sunday is Easter Sunday.
Most of us are familiar with the story of Jesus, the cross, and the empty tomb. Sunday is a celebration of the resurrection. Of Jesus rising up from the dead. Of new and beautiful in the place of gone and buried.
I grew up giving a lot of attention to Good Friday and Easter Sunday but I never really thought much about that Saturday wedged in between them.
We don’t talk about Saturday. There’s really no mention of it in the Bible. We skip it in sermons. We treat that Saturday like any other day, really.
The only thing mentioned in the Bible about that Saturday after Jesus died is how a few chief priests and Pharisees visited Pontius Pilate to request guards stand at the tomb.
But the Bible doesn’t pan to Mary’s perspective, how it must have felt to watch her son die a horrendous, humiliating death. Or Peter’s grief after denying Jesus 3 times. Or Judas’ suicide, him being unable to live with himself after selling Jesus out.
We don’t give Saturday a second thought because the climax of the story happens on Sunday. But I have to remind myself that the people in this story didn’t know about Sunday. Sunday hadn’t occurred to them. They were in a holding spot of agony because everything they’d placed their trust in had suddenly shattered.
This was not how they imagined the story would unfold.
This was not the glorious ending they were hoping for.
They were standing in the Saturday and I imagine it was the biggest despair they’d ever encountered.
It makes you ask why.
When God could have shifted the circumstances instantly, why did he choose to keep Saturday within the story? Why did he make the people wait? Why didn’t he just get on with the miracle?
To me, this speaks volumes about God.
To me, it is a reminder that God leaves space in the story for waiting. For wrestling. For grief. For despair. For questions without answers.
That it’s okay, and actually necessary, to leave space in the story for the “Where is God?” moments. God is not phased by these spaces of time. If anything, the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday is proof that God expects these times of doubt and agony. He welcomes them. He gently tells us, “These things matter in your faith. Feel the weight of them."
...If you’re lost on faith, I’m standing in the gap for you today. It’s okay if you’re struggling to see God in the story. I’m not here to change your mind, I’m just here to say, I see you in the struggle and I am linking arms with you. I’m holding you in the light. I’m holding out hope that you’ll see Sunday soon. And on that Sunday, we will dance, and cheer, and celebrate."
We will go absolutely nuts.
I can’t wait for that day, friend."