Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who just doesn't "get it"? I find this extremely frustrating. So did Jesus.
In Mark 8, a group of Pharisees (ie, really religious people) came up to Jesus and demanded He show them a sign- perform a miracle as a way of proving He was indeed from God. At first glance, this seems rather innocuous, until you note the three stories preceding this one. In them, Jesus has driven out a demon from long distance, healed a deaf/mute by using spittle, and fed 4,000 people with a few dinner roles. I don't know about you, but this seems like a pretty good run of ministry to me.
And yet, here are the high and mighty religious guys asking for a sign. "Um, excuse me," I'm thinking, "are you paying attention here? Have you seen what's going on? Why don't you get it?" Granted, the Pharisees probably hadn't been personally present at any of these miracles, but there was more than enough evidence for them to realize that Jesus was the real deal. But it wasn't good enough for them. Jesus had to do it their way, in their timing. With this as their mindset, the Pharisees missed Jesus altogether.
Sad. Even more sad when I think about how often this is MY experience. I want God to do things a certain way- show up at certain times, fix things a certain way, "prove" himself to me with a certain sign. Rarely, if ever, does God work this way. He is doing his own thing, and if I have the eyes to see it, His ways are far more wonderful and beautiful than my own.
Nowhere do we see the brilliance of God's plan more than in the Christmas story. If it were my way, I would not send a child to change the world. But God's way was to take on human form, become one of us, and proclaim through our humanity, "I am with you." His ways are not my ways, and thank goodness for that. Through Christ, His way continues to change and shape the world today.
"Our God is in the heavens, and He does as HE wishes." (Psalm 115:3) May your eyes be open in this Christmas season in such a way that you can trust this God. He is good, and his plans are good. Celebrate with great joy in Him.