God Used Ordinary People
The characters that God chose to put into the Christmas story are what we would call ordinary. We first meet an ordinary couple, and as we open to Luke 1:5. They were ordinary people, lived with ordinary problems, faced with all the ordinary troubles, stresses and pains of life. When we meet them they even had an ordinary response to God—mixed belief and unbelief.
This couple also had an ordinary occupation in Jerusalem in the 1st century—we would call them religious professionals. Zacharias and Elisabeth were a priest and his wife. They lived and worked in the shadow of the Temple of God. They were of the priestly family, able to trace their family tree all the way back to Aaron and the Tribal genealogy of Levi.
From their earliest days they had known about the Lord. They had grown up much like many Americans of past generations—surrounded by the truth, seeing and hearing it in many ways and places. So in that sense we all are ordinary people. We all share the same struggles, trials, and pains through life.
But one thing about them was extraordinary—they actually believed all that truth about God. He was real to them and they loved Him and served Him as best they could.
As with each of the other members of the Christmas story—they are in contrast to another similar group that we studies --the religious professionals that did not internalize the truth.
Even to this day it is amazing how the true story of Christmas can polarize a family, a church, a nation, and a world. All around us nearly everyone is comfortable with this "holiday season”—but press the issue of Christ and Him being at the center of Christmas—then things change immediately.
Try to display a representation of Christ's Birth on public land, or try to call a Christmas tree by that name and the entire government goes into overdrive…sadly we live is a post-christian era. But that only makes the message of Christmas even more precious and distinct!
Each ordinary person God chose to use in the story of Christmas—stand in extraordinary contrast to the others around them. Each of them—Zacharias and Elisabeth, Joseph and Mary, shepherds and Magi, Simeon and Anna, are examples to us of how to see Christ clearly this Christmas.
The differences between Zacharias and Elisabeth and the rest of the religious professionals pointed out in the Christmas story are so stark and distinct I like to think of these distinctions between them as continental divides--junctures of monumental and of eternal proportions. Little choices, little acts of obedience, little affirmations of consecration, little cries to a great God—these make big differences in the long run.
To continue reading about these ordinary people that God used, please click here.
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