The Christmas season always brings with it several certainties. I love--love!--all the lights that people put up to represent Jesus, the light of the world. Maybe not everyone puts up lights with that intent, but that is how I receive them. I enjoy the ubiquitous music and the crowds--people looking, looking for the right gifts for people they love. This is how I always choose to view the crowds.
This year, I'm thinking about marriage and children. God in his wisdom created families to teach us about himself. He is the father who always loves. We are his children who can trust in his constancy. He sent his son into the world to live in a family with a mother and a father, brothers and sisters, showing us that it is possible to live a life that is pleasing to God within the structure of a human family.
Recently I've attended a couple of weddings and have been reminded of another of God's lessons. The marriage relationship is a representation of God's relationship to the church. When the beautiful bride comes down the aisle--and she's always beautiful--she is a picture of the church (that's you and me) that God loves and sacrifices for, just as a human husband will work hard to provide for his loved one. In the same way that the bride should faithfully honor her husband, we are called to be devoted to God, giving our worship to no other.
To carry the comparison a little further, the result of a human marriage relationship is often children. The result of a healthy church is the making of other children--new followers of God. The analogy may not be perfect, but I was thinking about that passage in Luke chapter one. God intervenes in Elizabeth's life and gives her a child when it seems impossible because of her advanced age. Then he intervenes in Mary's life and gives her a child before it is humanly possible.
God's power is unlimited. He can--and does--bring children into his family when the situation seems humanly hopeless. Like Mary and Elizabeth, we may have the privilege of being his instruments in bringing forth new children of God. That is my desire, and I imagine you feel the same. Let us be faithful and obedient.