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By BARBARA BROWN
Humans spend a lot of time preparing for the future. We save money for “rainy days,” take classes to improve our work opportunities, we hunt and gather to fill our freezers with meat and berries, and we bring our first aid kits on wilderness adventures. Life can go more smoothly if we prepare ourselves for what is to come.
When I consider the first Christmas, and a young woman in Nazareth named Mary, I'm impressed by her ready attitude. Apparently, she had hidden God's word in her heart and believed he would keep his promise to send a savior. The angel Gabriel's greeting troubled her and she began to wonder about the meaning of his greeting (Luke chapter one.) But, after Gabriel explained her potential role as the mother of messiah, Mary responded as ready and willing to accept this assignment with all her heart.
The Christmas story is filled with several smaller stories of individuals who were ready, or not. Mary's fiancÚ Joseph wasn't quite ready to grasp God's imminent plan, but the angel Gabriel helped him realize it was time for messiah to be born. God was about to uncover the mystery of his plan of salvation, and Joseph willingly accepted the role he should take.
But then there is the account of the inn keeper in Bethlehem. He was not such a ready individual. This small business owner would have also been raised hearing the law and the prophets tell of a savior to come. But when Mary and Joseph knocked on the door of his inn, he made no room for them. They had traveled far and were so tired. Mary was about to give birth. But the inn keeper was not prepared to accommodate the son of God that night.
How do we avoid such a failure as the inn keeper's lost opportunity? Can we prepare ourselves to respond as well as Mary did? The Christmas song reminds us, “Let every heart prepare him room.” Room preparation involves a lot of action. But when it comes to spiritual, heart issues there is one action alone that is required. Just say yes! Jesus calls to us, “Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20.
Mary, Joseph and the inn keeper had no special, supernatural powers. But they knew the promises of God. And that enabled them to start each day with faith and prayer and hope in God. Then, when their faith was challenged to believe in God's mysterious plan, all they could do was offer a ready reply, or not.
áSo, be ready, walk ready, live ready to follow in Jesus' footsteps. God calls us to readiness as we walk in his promises. Followers of Christ should be forward-looking and purposeful people. Trust God and his word. “So now, little children, remain in Him, so that when He appears we may have boldness and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” 1 John 2:28.
Barbara Brown is a member of the ministry team at the Lighthouse Church of God.
Perspectives is a regular column sponsored and written by members of the Ketchikan Ministerial Association.