The Christmas story whilst glorious hides great pain and great preparation. There is a personal touch to this message today that underlines many Christmases that we may have celebrated in our lives. The many times when Christmas is not the happy noisy time the world would have you participate in.
Pain is a part of the Preparation
Isaiah 66:8 asks the question if a nation can be bought to birth in a day. Or whether miraculous unheard of changes can be brought in. Change cannot occur unless there is pain. When we read 📚 concerning the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 we forget that before it’s fall was a painful struggle to victory.
Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.
Isaiah 66:8 KJV
Who has heard of such a thing? Those who are called to the processes expounded here. Who sees such things? Those who prepare for them. Shall the earth be brought forth in one day? Yes it was indeed. Or shall a nation be born at once? We saw this in 1948 by the United Nations and the refounding of Israel as a nation. However, these sudden events did not come without a lengthy and painful process. Who saw each one of the people who prayed for 2000 years for Israel to be restored? Who measured their pain?
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
2 Corinthians 4:17 KJV
Paul catches here the pain of affliction but it is “light” in comparison to the weight he presents in the realms of glory. And is for a moment in comparison with eternity that is presented here in the measure of the effect of those processes.
Pain is part of the process
Pain can be felt in various areas of our lives, but the worst is the pain of the soul. Why would the soul be in such pain? Many things touch us deeply like sickness, grief at a loss of a family member, breakup of a relationship. These must be worked out in God so as to not walk in bitterness which is a worst state than pain of soul.
Paul explains that in Philippians 3, the cost he paid to enter into the realm of the miraculous and revelatory ministry. And coming back to the Christmas narrative, we must not forget there was much pain surrounding this birth of the Messiah. The pain of an occupied and oppressed people. The pain of those who prayed for decades for change. Mary, her situation which put her in danger as public knowledge of this pregnancy would bring scandal to her family. Hence, maybe she went to the mountains, to Elisabeth, as the Lord had prepared her heart for such an unheard thing!!! Remember our text, when God does something unheard of, something never before executed in the life of men, it is with those we are sent, who understand the pain and the processes of God’s work. When they discern that beyond the pain there is an unseen purpose, a birthing of something divine, it is these of such understanding He brings together. And Joseph who saw the potential for scandal in his own soul God showed him purpose, embraced the cost and covered mother and Child.
This year in my teaching of God’s Word, one person asked me where the revelation came from. I said and replied that it is through pain that divine attributes as found in Isaiah 11 that can only find root in the fertile soul so acquainted with grief. Even Isaiah in chapter 53 captures this ever companionship with grief. When we see pain is the road to eternal implications we shall never seek relief, because we are seeing pain from a divine perspective!
Pain brings us to the prize
The wise Magi came from far away, understanding that the star 🌟 that appeared was appearing for the time to announce a great happening.
The many miles these learned men went until they arrived at Jerusalem. They were pleasantly surprised that Sacred Texts explain the Coming of the Great King 🤴. They did not understand such trepidation of the existent King, Herod the Great. Nor did they understand the ignorance of them to the signs to them since Persia. The heavens, the Spirit realm was active at this time. And when they are indicated to Bethlehem so was their heart complete at visible confirmation of birth, a baby before their eyes, the choirs of angels in the heavens.
Their prize was not their possession rather their presence to witness the invitation that was made to them far away! Their pain of walking such a distance was rewarded by full understanding that indeed a King was born to God’s people. Our own pain this last year carries us to God’s full birthing into our generation. The wise men did not see a mere babe, they saw a King! And as we grow more and more sensitive to Him through our pain we then realise we have been on a “spiritual journey ” to Himself. Pain leads us to the place where God is to understand His purpose and enjoy His eternal reward to us.
However you spend this Christmas, if it be quiet and alone,whether it be with family, know that in God no pain is without purpose, and as we are brought to travail like Zion so we will understand whilst our pain seemed never ending the manifestation comes suddenly. May we this Christmas get the manifestation we need for our journey in pain.