11 December 2014

An Unexpected Christmas Story

Founders Note: Today on the blog we have are monthly contributor Melanie, she is sharing her heart on this month's theme Ruth. You can learn more about Melanie and her blog on the about page. 

This isn't the Christmas story you’d expect.  No manger, no star, no wise men.

However, it is a narrative full of great suffering, a newborn babe, and a redeemer.  An interweaving of courage, grief, and grace as real people live ordinary lives. 

It's not the story of Jesus; yet it’s ALL about Jesus.
I’m referring to the book of Ruth.  It’s all about Christ because Ruth’s choices directly impacted the lineage that led to Christ’s birth.
Naomi and Ruth were grieving.  Their men dead.  Naomi losing her namesake, as both sons died.   Her husband also deceased.
Naomi knew she had no future as a widow—a nobody in their society, living rejected lives.
In grace and kindness, Naomi tells her daughter-in-laws to go back to their families.  For a future and hope, protection.
One daughter-in-law leaves; however, Ruth is a true companion, a daughter, a true friend.
Ruth’s courage and sacrifice is astounding.  She knowingly chooses to place herself into a life of risk— she was a Moabite who was hated in the land they were returning to.  Racism and abuse was likely. 
For love, she was choosing the lowly life.  A laying down of her life for the good of another.
During the Christmas season, we celebrate the babe born in a barn.  How unexpected for the king of heaven to come among stench and animal feces; yet, God’s ways are not our own and He always chooses the lowly and broken to enter into our messy lives.
His own family tree full of ordinary, broken people like Ruth and Naomi.
Once returning to Bethlehem, Naomi finds grace with a Kinsman Redeemer, Boaz.  He is so impressed with her kindness towards Naomi, he makes sure they are cared for and protected.
Even more shocking, Boaz chooses to marry Ruth, who is a despised race.
Grace upon grace.
As the Kinsmen Redeemer, only he can obtain Naomi’s family land back.  The land that was sold when her family moved to Moab is given back to Naomi.  Ruth and Naomi are given a hope and a future.
Sorrow and despair are redeemed by the One True God.  Naomi bounces a newborn grandson on her lap as Ruth and Boaz have a son named Obed.  Once describing herself as bitter and empty, Naomi is unexpectedly inhaling the aroma of joy.
A miraculous redemption and grace…Obed fathers Jesse who fathers David-- the direct line to Christ.  An interracial marriage, ordinary broken, sorrow-filled people in the direct family tree of the Messiah.
God comes through animal troughs, not thrones.
When we think He’s abandoned us, may we remember these truths.  Love came down to live in poverty.  It’s the laying down, the suffering, and the unknowns-- that’s when He delights in surprising us in unexpected ways.

Isn’t that the message of Christmas?

{photo credit:  www.cmd-lawfirm.com}

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