But it came to pass…Nehemiah 4:1
Lots of things aren’t meant to last forever. We keep the goods and toss out the package. We put in a new light bulb, trash bag or battery, fully expecting them to run their course and have their usefulness pass away. Those things aren’t surprises, but when we really think about the way this tiny bit of scripture applies to our human experience the words take on a surprising meaning.
There are seasons in our lives when things feel like a blanket of heavy wet snow settled in on our hearts. Things can be hard to navigate and our faith can be tested. When we’re smack dab in the middle of one of those seasons, things can just seem to pile up and make us feel sad, confused and overwhelmed. Those are the times this verse, that appears over and over in scripture, takes on a profound meaning. This little nugget of hope reminds us that our struggles, grief and suffering aren’t here to stay, they came to pass. One December nigh when my heart was in one of those heavy seasons, a beautiful stranger shared the story of loss and grief that overwhelmed her school one year early in her teaching career. At the last mass of their school year, the parish priest gave a homily and shared a very simple message. He said, this won't stay, we find comfort in God's word and his word says, "It came to pass", not "It came to stay. That lovely lady had no idea how much I needed to hear those words!
As we celebrate the birth of the Newborn Infant King, it’s the perfect time to take stock of the things that have come to pass. Our troubles, worries, anxieties and difficulties will pass, but the gift of God’s own Son, Jesus will remain. His peace, his mercy, his inexhaustible compassion and comfort remain with us forever. There is absolutely nothing so hard or sad or confusing that it would make the Father turn away. We can’t scare him, trick him or run him off. He is there patiently waiting for us to ask him into our mess.
The fact that we gaze on the precious gift of God’s Son as an infant in the manger every December is a reminder that we can begin again. Each Christmas as I approach the Manger Scene on the altar, I breath a little sigh of relief and feel grateful that we celebrate his humble beginning on this earth. I look at that tiny baby in the manger and remember that the greatest thing ever known to mankind started small. Just like little Jesus, we are allowed to take baby steps. As I gaze at him this last weekend of Christmas, I’ll pause a little longer to thank him for the reminder that his love stays but the troubles and sinfulness we all struggle with have come to pass. I’ll take an extra minute to marvel at how smart God was to send Jesus as a cute, chubby, adorable baby boy because babies always capture my attention and make me smile. I’ll remember to thank him for being so generous with his grace and I’ll ask him to help us recognize and surrender those things that have come to pass.
A Seed To Plant: Before the Christmas Season ends, pause and pray these words; Infant Jesus, as we gaze on you this Christmas, remind us to welcome you and keep you with us always!
Blessings on your day!
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