I remember two Christmases ago. I was certain that soon we'd be chosen to adopt a baby. We were showered with gifts that year including a homemade "baby G" bib from my mom and a stack of farm and animal themed board books from my future brother-in-law who is a country boy, through and through. We spent the following months getting the nursery ready, talking about baby names, and imagining ourselves pushing a stroller through the mall along with all the other moms and dads. We were so ready.
We waited 11 more months. Little did I know that the Christmas I was anticipating a baby, my child wasn't even conceived yet.
I make a lot of plans in my life, and I am determined that the goals are met with precision and timeliness. I do what I can to scoot things along. It's in my blood. It's who I am.
But adoption was totally out of my control. I could put certain marks on the dreaded checklist (the one adoptive families get that states what they will and won't and might accept in an adoption situation). I could check my cell phone twenty times a day for a message from the social worker (don't want to miss THE call). I could reorganize the nursery closet every other week (which I did). But nothing would put me in the driver's seat of our adoption. And that's a good thing.
Some of the best things in life come from a road to somewhere....a road where we cannot see around the next curve or beyond the forest. We know we're headed in some direction to some destination, but most of it is a mystery. And it's not in our power to decide what happens when, where, how, or why. Thank God.
I have learned that I can't plan blessings, and that simplicity and surprise far surpasses plans and productions.
Christmas reminds us of this. Jesus came into the world in the most humble of ways. Though most storybooks paint a serene winter evening with a stable full of clean hay, smiling animals, and a glowing Mary, what really might have occurred was nothing like a Hallmark movie. It was supposedly summer---so probably hot. The animals probably smelled a little ripe. Mary was surely exhausted from traveling and then giving birth in a barn. Here's Joseph delivery his firstborn child with no medical degree. How humble and non-ideal is that? What woman today would give birth in a place and situation like that?
But the simplicity of the situation described in the Bible is its beauty. And the lack of control that Mary and Joesph had is equally as interesting and appealing.
Life is full of roads that lead us here and there. I hope that each turn leads you somewhere better and more beautiful than you ever could have planned or controlled. Merry Christmas!