One of the games that young children play at swimming lessons is ‘Wibble Wobble, wibble, wobble jelly on a plate; Wibble Wobble, wibble, wobble jelly off the plate’.
They balance together on a large float that the teacher wobbles while they sing the song and then they are all tipped off into the water. Some children squeal with delight during the game and others cling anxiously to the adult in the water with them.
We all react in different ways to the wobbles in life and we certainly have plenty of them. Whether we think globally, politically, economically, about the environment or our personal relationships and health, one thing is for sure: uncertainty abounds. Many of us find this difficult and unsettling.
Reflecting on the Christmas story this year, I have been struck by how God’s intervention in the lives of the characters brought extra uncertainty for each of them. Zechariah and Elizabeth had probably adjusted to the fact that they were too old to have children and then God told them he had a different plan (Luke 1:5-25). Their lives were turned upside down.
Mary and Joseph were preparing for their marriage when God had other plans and Mary becomes pregnant having never slept with Joseph (or anyone!) (Luke 1:26-38). Suddenly her relationship with Joseph was in jeopardy. Their lives were in turmoil.
A normal night in the hills for the shepherds was interrupted by a heavenly host visit. Their plans changed in an instant.
Each time God’s messenger appeared in the story of Jesus’ birth, people were terrified and the first words of the angels were: ‘Do not be afraid’. And then they dropped a big ‘bombshell’!
God’s intervention in our lives often leads us out of our comfort zones and into greater uncertainty. Can we hear and trust God’s ‘Do not be afraid’? He can say that to us because he has promised his presence with us…constantly! ‘Immanuel – God with us’ (Matthew 1:23)
This Christmastime, and throughout the New Year, may you know the peace that comes from the presence of the Lord Jesus in your life, whatever your uncertainties and fears. May we have the courage to follow Jesus wherever he leads us.