Serendipity is one of my favorite words—partially because of the way it sounds, that “dipity” at the end is just to pronounce and seems like something that you would find in a Mary Poppins’ movie. But more importantly, I like this word because of the meaning, “the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.” Don’t you just love it when something positive and beneficial happens that you weren’t expecting? It makes your day, maybe even your week. I love serendipities!
But that’s not what we find when it comes to the place of Jesus’ birth. It wasn’t a happy chance that he was born in Bethlehem to fulfill scriptures. Joseph didn’t say, “Hey Mary, I know you are nine months pregnant, but let’s take a vacation”. And even if they would have been vacationing, the Mediterranean Sea or the Sea of Galilee were much closer and much more scenic. First of all Mary would have said, “I am not getting on a donkey to take a trip right now, and if I did—I’m going to the coast.” No, the place of Jesus‘ birth wasn’t a serendipity, it wasn’t by chance, it was arranged by God.
We know it was Augustus who called the census causing this nine month pregnant woman to climb on a donkey for a one hundred mile, seven day trip. But it wasn’t really Augustus controlling this any more than it was Darius deciding to allow the Jews to go back to their homeland and rebuild the temple. And the temple needed to be built for the time when God would send His Son to this earth. The son who would be born when the census was called. See how it all fits together? So, though we see man’s face or decree on things, they are not the power behind events that bring about God’s plan or purpose; He is.
I have to admit, I don’t always see God’s plan or purpose as I look forward or even as I look around. It is often only in hindsight that I see clearly what was transpiring. But knowing that I have looked back and have seen His power in the events that unfolded around me, helps me to trust in the present moment. And that, in all reality is the tough part, trusting in the moment. He is active.
No, God didn’t keep that light green a little longer for you to make it through that light. And I don’t think that gift you wanted to get was marked down just in time for you to buy it. And as Russ has mentioned, He is not making the Lions win. But that doesn’t mean He isn’t active. No matter what, His plan is intact. Trusting in the overall plan allows us to have peace, not only at this time of year but always.
Peace (while) On Earth,