Bethlehem or Bedlam

Posted by on Dec 16, 2013 in Faith Words |

Words of Faith

Rev. Rita S. Platt

December 1, 2013

“Bethlehem or Bedlam” 

Scripture: Luke 2:8-14

Today we begin a countdown to Christmas Eve.  4 weeks – 4 candles and then on Christmas Eve the Christ Candle is lighted and the service ends with the darkened sanctuary, the lighting of the candles and the singing of “Silent Night.”  Have you ever thought of the first night in Bethlehem? It was anything but silent. It started with the census…politically based…Rome in control…and soldiers everywhere. Persons travelling in caravans… no forwarding address to give… trying to find some relative to give them a room. The city was filled with more people than usual and like every crowd there was pushing and shoving…not to mention a 9 months pregnant woman. It was sheer bedlam. And in that bedlam God broke through.

Christmas reminds us what God is like.  

God who comes into the bedlam of our lives…God who tells us don’t be afraid.  Do you hear that phrase repeated in the scripture passage?  Don’t be afraid, that is the most significant gift of Christmas.  No matter how chaotic your life gets. No matter how things keep piling up. When we are at that place where we are only holding on by a thread, that’s when we need to remember God with us. And when we begin to become comfortable with the chaos and confusion in our lives, we learn how to relate to others.

I remember a Peanuts cartoon: Charlie and Linus were watching tv – before the days of cable – remember those days? Picture was fuzzy.  Snoopy jumped up on the TV with his ears stuck up in a “v” – he was serving as the antenna.  Charlie Brown said to Linus, “I don’t understand it either.  All I know is he gives us a better picture.”

 And when we remember the child Jesus born into bedlam we have a better picture of how we can be with others. Our job isn’t to fix them, it’s to be with them…in the bedlam of their lives we can just be with them, because we know it’s God’s job to quiet the confusion and we are not God. 

And living in that uncomfortable place – living with the chaos in our lives, relating honestly with those  who are in our lives whose lives seem to be upside down – we discover what  really matters.

What we see is the middle of the story, but God knows how it is going to work out. We can trust God’s plan for our lives. 

Maybe you are experiencing bedlam in your life – chaos .. confusion.. and you just want things to settle down.