If I had planned the life and times of the Savior of the World, it would have started in a big city with loads of opportunity for publicity and rubbing shoulders with wealthy and influential people.

If I planned His birth, it would have been a big event, foretold to the masses so that thousands were witnesses to the Incarnation unfolding.

If I selected the family for a Savior, He would have had privileges and power and a platform from which to present His message to the world.

If I mapped out those early years, Jesus would have been a baby genius — the child prodigy everyone knew about, right from the start, waiting to see what He would do next.

If I were the author of the story of His ministry, for decades upon decades Jesus would have traveled far and wide to preach and to teach to ears all over the world… big stages and bright lights would have been His to command.

If I scripted the story of the Rabbi Jesus Christ during His ministry, He would have chosen hundreds of disciples to follow Him, up close and personal, listening to His teachings.

If I wrote the story of His victory, He would have taken the throne His disciples wanted Him to take, overthrowing the oppression of Rome and ushering Israel to a new era of political glory.

Instead of the big city, God chose humble Bethlehem, the “House of Bread” — a small place for the beginnings of the Bread of Life.

Instead of the big event, God chose to reveal the story of His birth to humble Shepherds on nearby hillsides — the Good Shepherd would be revealed first to His own kind.

Instead of the influential family, God chose a carpenter for a father and a humble young girl for a mother — the building of a never-ending kingdom required a different kind of skill. 

Instead of the child prodigy, His story began with a flight to the anonymity of Egypt to protect the life of the One who is the Resurrection and the Life.

Instead of the decades of famous ministry, God ordained a three year preaching circuit, visiting the same towns and perhaps never traveling more than two hundred miles from His hometown. The Light of the World never needed the lights of the world to demonstrate His brilliance.

Instead of the hundreds of disciples, God chose just twelve, knowing one of the twelve would betray Him. Once the Way began to show the world the Way, He lit a fire on enlightenment that would never stop burning.

Instead of the powerful ruler on His glorious throne, God chose the victory of the cross — where death would be defeated by the King of Kings whose Kingdom is not of this world. 

I would ask for horses. He would ride a donkey.

I would ask for servants. He would become a servant and wash feet.

I would ask for a palace, He would choose the cross on the hill.

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. {Isaiah 9:6-7}

From the manger on the outskirts of Bethlehem to the cross outside Jerusalem, Jesus lived a story that is precisely marked by the fact that He chose none of the things we would choose if we set out to change the world.

If His life were a marketing campaign, He chose the least lucrative potential target audience. If His life were a political campaign, He chose the wrong kind of social capital, the least influential associates and allies. If His Life, Death and Resurrection were on trial in a courtroom, He chose all the wrong witnesses.

What does the world really need? What do you and I truly need? What is the solution to all our problems, the answer to all our questions, the peace to overcome our every fear? 

Only an upside-down kind of Love could turn the world upside down… and ignore every strategy the world’s greatest thinkers might have employed in the process. Jesus is the King who refuses a throne… and then reigns forever. 

And His is the different kind of story that none of us would have written but all of us most deeply need to know and to follow. He is the answer to our deepest longings. 

He sheds Light, the truest Light on all the dark and the sadness and the hurt and the badness in our world. He is the Light that says, “I see you. In the darkest places where you are hurting most, I see because I am Emmanuel. I am not simply watching over you — I am with you. I have come, I do come, I will come again. I will not leave you as orphans here. These earthly troubles will vanish for all eternity when I come again. My Light shines in this darkness — and the darkness will not overcome it.”

Glory to God in the Highest! He has come to us. He does come to us in the darkest nights and the hardest places. He will come again!

Hallelujah again and again, and Merry Christmas!


From our family to yours, we wish you a wonderfully Merry Christmas. Friends, we cannot thank you enough for your love, your prayers and your support through this incredibly challenging season in our lives. Jesus has come and He does come, and so often He has come to us through His brothers and His sisters, His hands and His feet, His people, in this season. We cannot fully express our gratitude. We pray He will come to you this Christmas, that His Light will shine in the darkness of any hard place or hurt you are facing, that His Love will speak Truth into your soul. The best story ever written hasn’t stopped being written — and it just gets better and better.

We love you!
Mark, Caroline, Arabella (7), Asher (11), Blake (8) and Catriana (4)

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