God knows how to write a script.

A great story will draw you in and this one is no exception. Even a few thousand years after it played out we still read it in awe, imagining ourselves in each role, wondering how we would have reacted if it had been us.

What if we had been chosen to provide the backdrop for the coming of the Savior? Most of us can find ourselves relating to someone in this supporting cast as we read Luke’s account of the events surrounding this most amazing birth.

Are you relating to Zacharias and Elizabeth, living with unmet longings and fading dreams? The opening of the book of Luke tells us they were righteous before God and blameless. And childless. And old. Are you walking with the Lord and serving Him faithfully in spite of how much time has gone by while waiting for an answer or a miracle or any indication that your prayers are heard? What joy to read, “So it was that while he was serving…the angel of the LORD appeared.” Keep walking with God like they did, my friend, even when it’s hard. Listen for His voice. God always has a plan and His timing is always just right.

Or maybe you can relate more to this couple later as their story unfolded with the birth of that long awaited baby John. Can you just imagine how gloriously happy they must have been? Maybe this is your happiest Christmas in a long time. Are you rejoicing because of what God has done for you this year, how He has provided or blessed, maybe when you least expected it? Then sing your own “Benedictus” as Zacharias did. “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel!”. Celebrate God’s goodness!

Do you see yourself in Mary? An angel showed up out of the blue with this outrageous and unbelievable message. God was asking her to do something far beyond her human capability to understand or accomplish. Is God asking you to do something that is completely out of your comfort zone and abilities and not what you had expected for your life? Are you surrendered to His plan even when you feel like an inadequate and unlikely choice? May your response be as Mary’s. “With God nothing is impossible. Let it be to me according to Your word.”

Then there’s Joseph. He had his life all planned out. He was engaged to be married. He was planning a life with his soon-to-be bride. Then he’s blindsided with the news that his fiancé is expecting. And it’s not his child. Do you feel like you’ve been handed a life you didn’t sign up for? Have you been blindsided by something this year, caught off guard? Are you listening for the voice of God in the drama? “Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the Angel of the Lord commanded him.” May we be as willing and obedient when faced with sudden plan changes and unknown days ahead.

Maybe you can see yourself in the shepherds. They were just tending their flocks as they did every night. Doing what they were supposed to do. Probably not expecting that night to be any different. Are you like a shepherd this Christmas season, just “tending your flocks” as usual, going about your everyday life, not really expecting God to show up? But God did show up that night and invited them to be part of something amazing. They embraced that invitation as unbelievable as it was. Watch for God. Listen for Him. Even on the mundane, seemingly predictable days. God may be just about to show up in a wonderfully unexpected way.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

Jesus came that night so that He could dwell among us, so that He could be in OUR stories. Maybe God included all these details about the cast of characters in the Christmas story so that our own faith could be inspired and encouraged. They trusted God in their extraordinary circumstances to show that we can trust Him in our day to day ones.

Do you see yourself in the Christmas story this year?