A couple weeks ago, my family welcomed a new baby girl into our family. Yes, I am now the proud dad of three girls. One of the coolest things about babies is they are new. “New” means exciting and interesting and gawking at every little motion, sound and expression she makes.
Now before you start thinking about all the cuteness of a new baby, you have to remember there’s some not-so-cute aspects of being “new.” This includes a lack of sleep, weird belly button attachments, regular belching, dirty diapers, and trying not to tear off the belly-button-thingy on accident.
As I thought about having a baby, especially at this time of year, it occurred to me that much of the “new” that Christ came to do in our lives won’t always be cute and sweet and exciting. Even as we just celebrated His birth, Jesus came into this world in messy, difficult circumstances. Most often new things, like the many of the resolutions many of us are about to make, take hard work. And it’s messy at the start.
Google started in a garage – messy.
The idea for Twitter was conceived in a park – beautiful, but dirty.
Facebook started in a mens’ college dorm room – definitely messy.
The biggest movement in the history of the world began in a stable – messy, and dare I say it, gross.
When God wants to do something new He doesn’t wait for perfect circumstances and conditions. He just does it, but He wants us involved. Mary and Joseph were willing participants, submitted to God and His will for their lives.
When God does something new, similar to a start-up internet company, He wants to tell people. So He sent angels to tell the shepherds about this amazing new thing, and then the shepherds went and “told everyone” (Luke 2:17). But what happened in the midst of all this is where God separates His story from Google, Facebook and all the others.
When the shepherds and the magi came to see Jesus, they bowed in worship of this new king. That’s where God is different. Throughout the Old Testament, anytime a new king took the throne of Israel and wanted to bring the nation to repentance, they worshiped. They would offer sacrifices marking a new season and mode of conducting themselves. When He does something new, there’s usually worship at the start.
On some level there’s something about a New Year that causes us all to evaluate where we are in life and in our relationships with God and with others. Would you consider making a time of worship a part of your New Year celebrations? Let’s gather to celebrate the new things God is doing in us. We can accept that it will be messy, but as long as we’re submitted like Mary, we can join in the move of God, trusting that He will finish what He starts in us. Like Israel, the shepherds and the magi, let’s bring our hearts and our voices in worship that we would make Jesus famous in our lives.
-Pastor Andy Gregory