to see the hidden glory.

From Michelle.  23 December, 2011.

Dear friends and family,

A friend of mine, a midwife, delivered a baby in a humble home last week.  I have been thinking a lot about that birth.  It was not miraculous, nor was it the woman’s first child. But it was a humble birth, in a single room dwelling in what many might call a slum area, but what is really a fairly normal living arrangement for many Filipinos.  The images of that birth have haunted me this week because they bring into focus the circumstances of God’s birth among us.

Over the years, we have romanticized the tableau of the birth, decorating it with stars and surrounding it with holy visitors.  The sheep and the donkey do not smell.  The manger is clean, with plenty of fresh hay in it.  The virgin Mary is well clothed and beautiful.  But surely, it did not quite look like that.  Surely, it was dirty.  Surely, there was not enough food.  Surely, Mary was weary with travel, and then with labor.  And yet, God was there.

For me, this week, the baby in the barrio and the baby in the manger highlight my blindness to the miraculous in the midst of the ordinary.  While briefly there was a heavenly host leaving us no doubt as to the significance of the babe, mostly there was just a babe, and then a boy growing up in humble circumstances.  And yet he was God walking among us.

Looking at my Christmas week, there is much that is ordinary.  There is traffic and errands.  There is sickness and struggle.  There is even a funeral service.  But somewhere in the dirt, there lies a glorious truth, a light for all to see, a love burning bright in the darkness.  I squint my eyes and try to catch a glimpse of it through the ordinary hours.

It is the mystery of the birth, that God chose the ordinary to do the extraordinary.  He does it still today: For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.  2 Corinthians 4:6-7

So, friends, may we find in our own hearts the glory of God this Christmas, and may we see in each other the treasure, hidden in the ordinary.

Merry Christmas.

With love from all of us to all of you,

The Ruetschles

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  • Elaine & Steve Knapp

    Christmas Greetings Steve and  Michelle!
    Greetings from the Eastside of Seattle!  We think of you often, still looking forward to each of your moving and insightful messages.  Thank you for continuing to send us your thoughts and the  reports of your family.  If only we could give you a hug once in a while, just know we are sending them out across the sea to each of you.  Bellevue Presbyterian is beautifully lit for Christmas, such a joyous time for all believers.  We continue to share your powerful witness via DVD that you shared with the church not long before you left this summer.
    God Bless you and the boys,
    Love, Elaine and Steve  

  • Deb Meske Thompson

    Amen and amen!  May blessings of peace, health, comfort, and joyful love rain down in abundance on you and yours this Christmas, and on into the New Year!  Much love,  Deb

  • Gusinasia

    love you guys so much…Merry Christmas!  Your card made us so happy  =)

  • Roger & Helen Bartholomew

    Beautiful thoughts for Christmas. God making the ordinary and humble extraordinary and exalted…. which makes us re-examine our perspective and realize that God is indeed with us and amongst us in everything…. Have a really wonderful Christmas. Roger and Helen, UCM.

  • Betty G

    Amen! Merry Christmas to all!

  • Alex Aronis

    Thank you Michelle for this beautiful reminder of His presence with us.

  • Marty

    Thank you for such a lovely message.  We wish your family a Very Merry Christmas and a New Year full of good health and happiness.
    The Schmidts

  • Jayoder

    Our Love to you, Steve & the Boys as well.
    Jerry, Carmel, Ashley & Jaycee Yoder

  • Barry

    And may you and yours have a blessed Christmas in your new yet beautifully ordinary days.  Barry DeShetler, Christ U.M.C.

  • Pam Bryant

    A Blessed and Merry Christmas to you all..
    Love your message, Michelle.. thank you, because as always it is an inspiration.  

  • JJ and Lisa Kissinger

    A Sending much love to the Ruetschle Family!  May Glorious Light and Hope be your constant companions this year…

  • Michael Unruh

    May you have a time of peaceful reflection and rich relationships in celebrating the birth of our Saviour!  We love you, and hope we can connect again!

    Michael, Ashlie, Jacob, Ethan, Connor, and Annie Kate

  • Greggfarah

    Great post! And thanks for the awesome picture! It’s front and center on our fireplace, where every Ruetschle family picture goes! Merry Christmas.

  • Jtc_pacc

    Amen! I am awed at how God has used your family to show His love and faithfulness. We are especially reminded that we’re not alone. We are gifted with Jesus to give us hope, to forgive our sins, to impart faith, and to heal our spiritual wounds, if only we’ll let Him. Let’s share God’s love with others, especially the poor and the lonely. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  • Jana

    Merry Christmas!! We love and miss you!!!  Jana

  • Jana

    Merry Christmas!! We love and miss you!!!  Jana

  • Jana

    Merry Christmas!! We love and miss you!!!  Jana

  • Ally Coyle

    Merry Christmas!  I am continually blessed by the talents given to you by our Father.  You are in my prayers. What a beautiful Christmas card – it overflows with the love, joy, and grace that can only come from a relationship with God.

  • Erica

    Blessings to you all this Christmas and in the year to come.  You are such a source of encouragement and hope to us, as well as a reminder of the limitations of this life as you share so transparently and beautifully.  We hope to be able to see you sometime in the next year if we can make a visit.  You remain embedded in our hearts and prayers.  Love to you all!  The Wollins

  • Baby

    Merry Christmas Pastor Steve and Michelle.  It is such a good feeling seeing you both and the children during the Christmas Eve service.

  • Marielle

    Sorry this is a bit belated, but I have been thinking of you and hoping you were enjoying a Christmas season of thanksgiving, peace and joy.  I miss spending time with you and hope all is well.  I know it must have been a tough adjustment but I can see that you keep moving forward — and inspiring others with your grace, love and determination.  I will always be most grateful that our paths crossed………….Much aloha and love,  Marielle (Michele ) Riordan

  • Rebecca

    Merry Christmas to you all!  What a lovely picture!!  Thank you for reminding us, Michelle, to see the extraordinary in the ordinary, to see God in our everyday circumstances.  And to “see in each other the treasure”… how often we forget to do that, in the midst of the busy-ness that marks the Christmas season.  Thank you for reminding us to slow down and savor what we have, the blessing of Christ among us.  Merry Christmas!

    Love, The Lwins

  • Sederstrand Family

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, STEVE!!  Et Michelle, merci beaucoup pour le don de ton ecriture si vivante!  Joyeux Noel et Bonne Annee a tous! 

    Yours in Christ,
    The Sederstrand Family
    Upstate NY