This time of year, the pictures from successful deer hunts are everywhere on social media. The trophies are not defined by size but by smiles. Each hunter has his or her own story to tell about that special day. What I do know, however, by experience, the stories are not usually without some moment of difficulty. Everyone knows each hunt will have its unique challenges which usually determines success or failure. Those stories are common. Actually, what is rare, is hearing someone tell about how easy their particular hunt was.

           When I think about the Christmas story, there is no doubt we have made the narrative around the birth of Jesus sound easy and normal. It is anything but that. It is not a neat and clean story about a normal couple without issues. It is disfunction at its best. The story is not a neat, and clean story. It’s not a nice play with calm animals. It’s not an event without problems and questions that seem so disconnected. It’s not close to normal. But the strangest part to understand is that the story is not God reaching us through the dysfunction of Joseph and Mary, or God bringing happiness despite their disfunction. It’s actually God causing the dysfunction to bring us a Savior. Yes, your read that right. You see, the angel told Mary she was favored, and she would have a baby while still being a virgin. And even though Mary was confused, she trusted God.  But all of a sudden, the 2 kids, 2 cars, happy wife, happy life… life, was turning into a very, very dysfunctional situation. The angel left and was not heard of again. But I bet she wished differently. Because soon, a belly bulge came, and momma looked at her funny, and her teacher looked at her funny, and her husband to-be was going to break off the marriage until an angel spoke to him as well. And he kept her and endured the ridicule. Not a common story. Not a normal family. Not a neat and clean story. But all caused by God.

           Why do I tell you this? Because some of you think the dysfunctional situation you have lived in, with, and through, your whole life, has eliminated you from God’s favor and call. You think your situation has caused you to be his last resort for anything good or worthwhile. You think your story is not one God is pleased with or can use. But what if it was God who actually brought about the difficulties in order for you to be his perfect instrument? What if it is exactly who you are now that God wants? What if all of this is part of God’s favor on you? I believe it is.

Merry Christmas

Gary Miller