Ordinary yet Different

This Advent season, we have the opportunity to reflect on this deep and incredible commitment God has made – becoming human. We’ll consider four areas where Christ’s coming creates a new paradigm for the way we live.

Our theme in week two is Ordinary. While Jesus’ coming was on one hand extraordinary (virgin birth, pronouncement from angels, etc.), he came in such an ordinary way (baby lying in a manger wrapped in swaddling cloths) and to ordinary people. The fact that God enters into our everyday lives changes us at every level and impacts how we live, learn, work, and play.

Ordinary yet Different

Most of the time my family and I just want to be ordinary—not different, not weird. This might sound easy, but we’re Americans living on a small, tropical, African island—normal is not really an option! But we do what we can. We learn language, culture, send our kids to the local school, and go to work, mostly trying to look and act like everybody else. You may ask, “Why bother?” So we can be different! Because underneath all the superficial differences of culture and looks, there is one difference that is truly significant: Christ. We actually want to be both ordinary and different. We want to be ordinary in our circumstances but different because of Christ.

A great tragedy overtook the family of a close island friend. He was physically and emotionally devastated by it. Not knowing the circumstances and thinking him merely sick, I went to visit him. In this way, I was being ordinary—Island tradition dictates that when a friend is sick, you go visit him and sit with him awhile. But it was in this ordinary moment that my friend shared his heart with me. That day and over the following weeks I prayed with him and for him and gave him many biblical texts to read as encouragement. Later he shared with me that no one else had cared for him like that. And I realized that Jesus had just done something extraordinary. When no one else was willing or able, Jesus had come. Jesus loved my friend, spoke to him through His Word, and comforted him in his despair when no one else did. An ordinary visit is extraordinary in the hands of Jesus.

In his circumstances, Jesus was ordinary—born to a poor, insignificant family, the son of a carpenter from Galilee. But in his person, Jesus was extraordinary. Our circumstances might be ordinary, but we are Christ-bearers, and so we carry the extraordinary with us.

How can the extraordinary power of Jesus shine in your ordinary life today?

Story by Tom L.

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