Dear Precious One,
The heart of our Father was beautifully revealed through the prophet Isaiah:
For this is what the high and exalted One says —
He Who lives forever, Whose name is holy:
"I live in a high and holy place,
but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the contrite."
(Isaiah 57:15 NIV)
I know there may come times when you don't feel like your prayers are heard, or you may think that God is taking too long to answer you or that your prayers don't matter because you are not an important enough person to be heard by the King of Glory. However, if you will lean into the story of My birth, you will see that good, righteous, and faithful people are not forgotten whether they are poor or rich, desperate or confident, disappointed or delighted, old or young.
Look at the story of My birth and notice that the key players in the Father's great drama of grace are all kinds of people — some of whom are folks just like you! If you read even more closely, you will see the joy, laughter, and surprise that God brought these people in His grace!
Notice those whom the Father includes in My story... and these are just a few of the precious people caught up in My story of grace!
Zacharias and Elizabeth, an old and deeply pious couple who could not have children, are caught up in the drama of grace!
One day Zacharias was chosen to perform his priestly duties in God's presence, according to the temple's normal schedule and routine. He had been selected from all the priests by the customary procedure of casting lots for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enter the sacred precincts of the temple. There he burned sweet incense, while outside a large crowd of people prayed. Suddenly Zacharias realized he was not alone: a messenger of the Lord was there with him. The messenger stood just to the right of the altar of incense. Zacharias was shocked and afraid, but the messenger reassured him.
Messenger [an angel from God]:
Zacharias, calm down! Don't be afraid!
Zacharias, your prayers have been heard. Your wife is going to have a son, and you will name him John. He will bring you great joy and happiness — and many will share your joy at John's birth.
Meanwhile the crowd at the temple wondered why Zacharias hadn't come out of the sanctuary yet. It wasn't normal for the priest to be delayed so long. When at last he came out, he was making signs with his hands to give the blessing, but he couldn't speak. They realized he had seen some sort of vision. When his time on duty at the temple came to an end, he went back home to his wife. Shortly after his return, Elizabeth became pregnant. She avoided public contact for the next five months.
I have lived with the disgrace of being barren for all these years. Now God has looked on me with favor. When I go out in public with my baby, I will not be disgraced any longer.(Luke 1:21-25)
While many of Israel's greatest early leaders were shepherds — folks like Abraham, Moses, and King David — when it was time for My birth into the world, shepherds had fallen out of favor. But the Father had not forgotten them!
Nearby, in the fields outside of Bethlehem, a group of shepherds were guarding their flocks from predators in the darkness of night. Suddenly a messenger of the Lord stood in front of them, and the darkness was replaced by a glorious light — the shining light of God's glory. They were terrified!
Messenger [an angel from God]:
Don't be afraid! Listen! I bring good news, news of great joy, news that will affect all people everywhere. Today, in the city of David, a Liberator has been born for you! He is the promised Anointed One, the Supreme Authority! You will know you have found Him when you see a baby, wrapped in a blanket, lying in a feeding trough.At that moment, the first heavenly messenger was joined by thousands of other messengers — a vast heavenly choir. They praised God.
O Father in heaven, thank You for catching up all sorts of ordinary people in the story of Jesus' birth. What I love, dear Father, is that where there was disgrace, sadness, and an unceasing sameness, You brought joy, delight, surprise, celebration, and wonder. What a powerful way to remind me that You came to bring hope for each of us, even me! In Jesus' name. Amen.