December 08, 2022 Cindy Goding

Living in the Ordinary

Living in the Ordinary

By Cindy Goding

Last Friday’s event, Shopping, Sweets & Stories was an AMAZING time! Hearing the information on the refugee women who are artisans at ReNew Project in Glen Ellyn was hard and sad but also so full of joy and hope! 

We were able to spend some time in God’s Word together and reflecting on what it is like to Live in the Ordinary, during Christmas.

Living in the ordinary, during Christmas (the most “magical” time of the year). Christmas is amazing! The smells, the sights, the beauty, the splendor, the fun! The gifts, the special time with friends and family, even the church is decorated so beautifully and special! It all adds up to an amazingly wonderful time. Yet, Christmas can also be so difficult because life doesn’t suddenly “get better” or  “easier” just because it’s Christmas.In fact, the hard or stressful or grief seems to be magnified during Christmas for many. How can we slow down and just live in the ordinary every day? Especially during Christmas?

John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as the only son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Who is the Word? The Word is  Jesus! Living in the ordinary is remembering that Jesus CAME to EARTH to dwell among us! Which means, he lived the ordinary, mundane, day to day life. He did that so he could be our true mediator between us and God the Father. He did so he can truly empathize with us, he actually understands what it means to be fully human and experience fully human emotions. 

We celebrate Christmas because God chose to lovingly send Jesus as a tiny baby born in a manger in the city of Bethlehem so long ago. He didn’t come to earth as this magnificent, glorious deity who descended from the skies with lightning flashing and a sign saying, “HERE I AM TO SAVE THE WORLD!” No! He came as a lowly baby. He had to grow, he had to learn, he had to be cared for, protected, he had to make friends, he had to get along with siblings, he had to be taught not to run into the street without looking for donkeys that would run him over! Why did God send Jesus that way? Why wasn’t it just an “instant fix”?

Isaiah 7:14-15 reads “Therefore the lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good.”

Immanuel literally means God WITH US. God sent his son Jesus to dwell WITH us, in everyday life! Jesus learned just like us what is good and what is bad, but the difference is that he chose good and perfect EVERY SINGLE TIME.

I think Jesus came in this manner because it allowed him to experience aspects of life that he knew we would experience. He experienced having to overcome and resist temptations. He experienced the joy of having close friends around him to build him up and edify him. He experienced the loss of close loved ones and grieved over the loss. He experienced betrayal from someone incredibly close, he experienced exhaustion as thousands followed him crying out for healing and prayer. He experienced compassion as he healed the lame and sick. He experienced anguish as he cried out to the father the night of his betrayal. He experienced immense pain as he was nailed to the cross to die for the payment for sins.

Jesus didn’t despise ordinary life, he came to redeem it.

Jesus had a deeply significant and immeasurable reason he was sent, Jesus was sent to save the world! John 3:16 says, “For God so loved THE WORLD. That he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life”. He was sent so that the payment for sin, for my sin, for your sin, for everyone’s sin would be paid and atoned for. He was sent to bring good news,  the gospel, to the world so that whoever believes in HIM will have eternal life. 

We look at life through a different lens knowing that Jesus paid the price so that our ordinary life has extraordinary meaning and purpose! This is the most perfect and generous gift because truly we don’t deserve it, we didn’t do anything and will never be able to do anything to earn the gift of salvation, and yet God gave it freely so that we can be forgiven and have relationship with God and have everlasting faith and eternal hope.

Jesus came to experience life so that when our ordinary lives become extraordinarily hard- he has the compassion and the empathy to say, “I get it. I REALLY GET IT. I understand. Bring your sorrows, your sadness, your anxiety, your stress, and lay it at my feet. I will take from you because my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”. And he takes those burdens and brings them to the Father who cares so deeply for you and is working all for your good. 

So it doesn’t mean that Christmas, the most magical time of the year, will suddenly become easy. You may still have to stand in lines, you may still have family drama, you may miss out on that perfect gift, you may burn your Christmas dinner, and you may still be overwhelmed by sadness or grief. BUT… what Jesus did on the cross DOES MEAN that there is redemption. That Jesus will come again, he will be triumphant and this ordinary life that you’re in will be worth it as you spend eternity with the Savior. 

So as we are heading into Christmas, refocus your gaze on the reason, the true reason why we celebrate.

Jesus was born to make our ordinary, extraordinary.