Life is routine. Perhaps that’s why we’re prone to imagine that the rich and powerful, the beautiful and famous are exempt and we envy that idea. It’s a myth and we would be wise to rethink it. People are people. Rich or poor, good or bad, notable or ignored, people face the same 24-hour days that require a response to life’s inherent challenges. Some confront it with resolve and excellence, some view it as burdensome and boring. A few long to conquer and control and others give little thought to the extraordinary gift of life. But one thing remains; the value of life is immeasurable and our attitudes impact the fullness or emptiness of our days.
In the second Chapter of Luke, that truth unfolds from the historical events of the birth of Jesus. It begins with these words. “And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.” Right out of the gate, the elite flexed their power. Liberty was unheard of and the masses were simply to comply. But while Caesar had his eyes on the coffers, God had His eyes on souls. The purpose was preordained, yet Caesar believed he was in control. “So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.” Among them were Joseph and Mary, pregnant with Jesus. The journey to Bethlehem was not easy, but necessary. Prophecy declared that the Christ of God would be born in the city of David and this journey would be that fulfillment.
To the shepherds watching over the their flock in the darkness, this was another routine night. Quiet and absent of the threat of predators, all seemed uneventful, when suddenly “an angel of the Lord stood before them and the glory of the Lord shone around them”. Their adrenaline surged and their hearts raced! After all, it’s not every day that the sky opens and an angel announces that God is with us. But wouldn’t the news of the King of kings have been given to the ruling class? Not in God’s economy. The offer would eventually be held out to them, but the announcement was intended for the receptive heart. The every-day, common soul would be the first to learn the Savior had arrived. No pride interfered with that truth and they made haste to find the Babe in the manger. It was transformational and, returning to their positions, the shepherds spread the joyous news. This was the beginning.
Eight days later, Jesus was brought to the temple in Jerusalem by his parents to dedicate Him to the Lord according to the law of Moses. Now, it happened that a man named Simeon was serving in the temple. He was a just and devout man who had long been waiting for the Consolation of Israel because “… it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” Simeon knew Him at once, took Jesus in his arms and blessed God. “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace according to Your Word; for my eyes have seen your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples. A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.” Years of uneventful service turned into a life-changing encounter with the One for Whom he had waited.
No sooner had Simeon finished his prayer when Anna, the prophetess entered the room. Well advanced in years, hers had been a life of prayer and fasting in the temple. Widowed after only seven years of marriage, 84 years had passed since the death of her husband and she dedicated herself to God. The waiting list for such a calling is … well, non-existent. But her dedication was not in vain. Her prayers became reality and her devotion brought her into the presence of the Divine.
Quiet and uneventful lives hold little appeal to us. Perhaps that is because we eye what is tangible and lose sight of what is eternal. Life is more than what we see and our greatest achievements are not found in the applause of men, but in the approval of God; for His Kingdom is vibrant with life.
Think your life is nothing more than a series of uneventful routines? Think again. God knows you and created you with eternity in mind. Where you spend it is decided by what you value and who you serve. For those who have chosen Jesus, the glory, honor and riches of heaven are closer than we realize and we can be ushered into that reality in an instant.
After years of routine, life changed in one extraordinary moment for the shepherds, for Simeon and for Anna. Their long-awaited hope for the Christ of God was manifest and their lives were transformed from the mundane to the Majestic. They witnessed the beginning. We stand on the opposite end awaiting His return. That too will happen in a moment. The trumpet will sound and a reunion will take place of God and His redeemed.
Don’t let life’s routine fool you; something wonderful is on the way!