When God Shows Up

November 13th, 2013

Luke 2:1-20

A Sunday school teacher asked her class why Joseph and Mary took Jesus with them to Jerusalem. A small child replied, “They couldn’t get a babysitter.” There is a young person who looks at life with a practical bent. Thank goodness, so does God. God knew we needed the Incarnation, so God showed up.

It seems to me that Christmas is about showing up. The Magi showed up. They could have stayed in their own country. They could have published a paper (or scroll) about their astronomical and astrological findings. They could have sent someone else to check things out, but no, the Magi showed up. It was not an easy trek. There were no Holiday Inns or exit signs marking restaurants along the way. There was no highway patrol to protect from robbers and muggers. Still, the Magi went anyway, because they decided to show up.

In contrast, Herod ran away. Herod sent someone else. Herod stayed at the palace and relied on others to do his dirty work. He sent soldiers to eliminate any possible threat, and left Rachel weeping for her children. The cries of anguish of mothers throughout Judea condemned Herod’s cowardly absence.

Joseph and Mary showed up. It was not an easy journey for them. No physician of the first century would advise traveling while pregnant, but they showed up. Caesar’s census compelled them. Faithfulness propelled them. The call of God upheld them, and they showed up.

The shepherds showed up. Frightened but faithful to heed the news of the angelic choir, they showed up. Accustomed to tending sheep rather than attending a baby’s birth, they still showed up. They did what they had to do, what they were asked to do, what they could do. The shepherds tended their flocks, and attended the birth of One to whom countless throngs would flock, and they showed up.

Simeon showed up. He waited to see the salvation of God’s people. He knew that he would not die until he did. He waited with patience, fidelity, and wisdom. When his eyes beheld the Christ Child, he knew what God had already promised. He realized that God always shows up as promised. Simeon had waited to see the promise show up.

Most of our journey is about showing up. God showed up, and our lives are changed forever. Faithful living, sacrificial service, committed discipleship are all about arriving at the foot of the cross and standing before the empty tomb. Once we have encountered those truths, we know that God has shown up and so must we.

We are a people on a journey, and like children in the backseat of the family van, we are constantly wondering, “Are we there yet?” Life is not solely about our destination. Life is, most of all, about our journey.

The leading factor in at-risk kids’ becoming incarcerated or addicted, or dying prematurely, is lack of education—dropping out of school. They don’t start school as children who plan to drop out. They quit due to frustration, inability to read, lack of a mentor, or lack of parental support. The best way to help these kids is to show up. Think of what might happen if you bother to show up.

Consider the difference in someone’s journey when you simply show up. Change the life of a child forever by showing up. Volunteer. Tutor. Serve. Give. Pray. Witness. Lobby. Lead. The Sunday school is the largest volunteer organization in the world, yet there can be no Sunday school if teachers don’t show up. The American Red Cross is usually the first on the scene of disasters, yet they would be almost totally ineffective if their volunteers failed to show up. The church is the body of Christ, yet there would be no church if you failed to show up to worship, witness, and serve.

Live out the faith you proclaim. Announce to the world the arrival of God. God showed up for us; it is our time to return the favor. (Gary G. Kindley)

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