Thought to ponder: Why is it that I always seem to find what I’m looking for in the very last place I look? But perhaps the more important question would be; why do I so often “overlook” things of great importance? It’s like the story of the guy that was down on all fours, under a street light at night, searching frantically for something. A passerby asks him what he’s looking for. He answers, “I’ve lost my watch.” The passerby begins to help him look, but to no avail.
Finally the passerby asks the man, “Are you sure it was in this area that you lost it?”
“Oh, no.” the man says. “I lost it in that ally over there.”
“So, why are we looking here?”
“Because the light’s so much better.” He answered.
We miss things, overlook things, because we’re not actively seeking them. We predetermine where to look or how it will look. It’s like going online to order something, paying for it, and waiting for a reply but never checking our mailbox. In our Christmas series, God’s Christmas Messages to You, the first message was “Prepare for the Miraculous”. God sent His angel, Gabriel with a message to Zechariah that his prayers were about to be answered; his barren wife, Elizabeth, would give birth to a son. Not only that, but a son full of the Holy Spirit who would be the forerunner to the long awaited Messiah (Luke 1:13-20). In spite of Zechariah’s prayers to God, he was not prepared for the miraculous. Gabriel caught him off guard – to the extent that he wouldn’t take Gabriel at his word, at God’s word. In Luke 1:20 Gabriel says, “And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time.”
Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
You don’t generally “seek after” something, or someone, you don’t believe in. Another miracle that God promised was the coming of a deliverer, the Messiah; God incarnate. This was prophesied to Israel centuries beforehand. But Israel had either ceased to “earnestly seek him” or they had formulated their own preconceived idea of what he should look like. Either way, he went unrecognized. That’s what happens when we become unprepared for the miraculous. It appears right there before us and, because we’re looking for something different than God’s word promised, we miss it. John 1:10-11 says, 10“He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
Max Lucado describes the manger scene and those who sought their long awaited savior, in a very pragmatic, unpretentious way:
The stable stinks like all stables do…A more lowly place of birth could not exist.
Off to one side sit a group of shepherds. They sit silently on the floor; perhaps perplexed, perhaps in awe, no doubt in amazement. Their night watch had been interrupted by an explosion of light from heaven and a symphony of angels. God goes to those who have time to hear him – so on this cloudless night he went to simple shepherds (Lk 2:8-15).
Max Lucado, God Came Near
God had entered the world in a humble form, helpless and vulnerable. Born in a stable with no fanfare or celebration aside from the heavenly host. That’s what happens when we decide how, when, and in what form the miraculous should be…when we fail to “earnestly seek him”.
How often do we completely overlook the miraculous, the obvious? The fact is that we overlook most anything that we aren’t emphatically seeking. Let us seek after Him with all our hearts, by His direction not our own.
Luke 12:40 “You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
Our God is an awesome God! Let’s expect the miraculous, this Christmas season and always!