When my days get messy or crazy (which happens pretty often), I tend to look around and think, "I should have planned better." I'm a planner. I feel better making plans and having plans. (My husband is the opposite and it makes for an interesting marriage...but that's another story.)
Yet every once in awhile when I'm going through a rough time, I wonder...is the answer really that I had planned better...or that I need to let go of my plan? What if planning is not the same as preparing?
Two thousand years ago Mary and Joseph were traveling to Bethlehem with Mary being nine months pregnant. I don't know about you, but when I'm pregnant, I am all about the planning-- for the birth, the postpartum period, even learning the gender so I can plan ahead! If I were Mary and had been pregnant with the Son of God, I can only imagine the way my mind would have been spinning with plans to have the best birth ever!
But God was born in a stable.
As I sat contemplating our manger scene the other day, I wondered what Mary had thought on her journey to Bethlehem. Did she have plans for her birth? Did she struggle with the way it seemed to be turning out? Jesus, the Messiah, being born away from home, in a stable with animals and only a few visitors.
Honestly, I don't think so. Because when I think about Mary's life and her 'yes' to God, in her mind it was always all about His plan anyway. She knew that preparing for His birth wasn't necessarily about making plans.
God wanted to be born in a stable. He wanted to show us humility, poverty, simplicity. To turn our views of success and holiness and salvation upside down. He wanted to become like the least of us so that every single one of us could be brave enough to get to know Him as Friend and Redeemer.
Instead of planning the perfect birth, Mary simply lived her days open to God's plan. Perhaps that's the answers to my days as well. While planning has its place in life and homemaking, too often I measure the success of my days with how much they corresponded to MY plans. What if instead I simply lived each day the best I could, but with an openness and eagerness to see God's plan for it unfold? It might be messy, it might be chaotic, it might not be what I hoped for. But it would be beautiful and peaceful, just like that Christmas night in the manger when Emmanuel was born.
God-with-us. God with His plan for us.
His is with us this day. Do you see Him?