being made new


I have a beautiful friend who speaks Truth from a stage as well as from the chair across from you. In late November, I heard her talk about the holidays… and my heart is still sorting out the lessons all these weeks later. Walk with me a bit? The closer I get to the new year, the more I realize Gail’s message gives me hope for a new beginning.


It starts and ends here: JOY is not in your circumstances. JOY is in your savior. If something is keeping you from joy, that something is keeping you from Jesus.


Unwrap your nativity again, please. Can we look at a few people we may have already packed away for the year? What did they have that allowed them a permanent spot in the history of Christ’s birth?


Look at Joseph.

We know Joseph was engaged to be married, he was a carpenter, and he was a righteous man… until his betrothed became pregnant. And, he knew he wasn’t the father. Upon arriving in his hometown for the census, he was not welcomed by his relatives and found himself without a roof over his head. This, in a culture of hospitality and extended family, not simply a matter of there being no room in the inn. This is a family that has rejected their son. When Joseph decided to step into the disorder that was his engagement to a now pregnant woman, he risked his reputation and his family ties to be obedient to the Lord’s command.

Joseph was courageous.

Where could my ‘yes’ change the world? My hesitant, awkward, but full-faithed YES?


Where do you stand to worship and bow down? Or perhaps: how close have you been to the manger? Do you stand outside the barn, behind the animals and angels and wise men to worship? Or do you crawl right up to the side of the crib and look Him in the eye?


The magi, who were Gentiles, worshipped the king of the Jews. They put their lives on hold and walked for three years following a star to see a foreign, infant king. It might take years- like the magi’s journey, but what am I being asked to leave behind in order be near? Am I relying on someone’s else’s view of the manger to worship a King who has personally invited me to come close? Have I forgotten how to worship?

The magi worshipped.

And they refused to be anywhere but right up front.



By trade, the shepherds were protectors. They lived on the margins of society… way out in the fields. Was it lonely? Certainly. Were they outsiders? Yes. YET. God broke in and changed the course of their history… and the rest of mankind’s by allowing them to be the first to announce the birth of the Christ Child.

Margin. Life happens in the margins. Way out there on the edges, beyond the schedules and the commitments and the usual. You may have to leave things behind, but make room.

The shepherds made room.




And then, of course, there is Mary. Always my favorite. She is such a beautiful mystery. One day on the traditional road to marriage and the next told she is pregnant and to give birth to the Ruler of Nations. Being pregnant before marriage was grounds to be outcast and abandoned, but God called her highly favored and blessed among women. What would have brought shame in the usual circumstances instead brought joy in the Savior. He gave her a fresh start, a new purpose.

Mary received a new identity.

‘Tis the season for resolutions or words to focus on or weight to lose. I, for one, am terrible at all those things. I think, if we’re honest, we need a little of everything the cast of the nativity has to offer.

Joy is not in your circumstances. Joy in your savior. If something is keeping you from joy, that something is keeping you from Jesus.

Do you need more courage?

More intimate worship?

Space. Maybe you need to clean house a bit and empty out your margins?

Or a new identity in Christ?

God is in the business of breaking norms and changing lives. 

I’m in.

It’s been a long December and there’s reason to believe

maybe this year will be better than the last.

Counting Crows


About texasnorth

TexasNorth is a little farm in Western Michigan. It's home to 5 chickens, 25 longhorn cattle, a coonhound (Banjo), 1 barn cat, a husband, and 3 ridiculously funny children. The mom of this zoo has been known to mow the lawn in a skirt and roast marshmallows after dark. View all posts by texasnorth

7 responses to “being made new

  • Missy

    I am so in! Leaving behind all that entangles. Loving you all the way from the margins, friend.

  • Bonnie Mulder

    I shared your quote on joy in the dining room at Degage this morning. Amens resounded around the room.

  • Jen

    I love this! But, am I the only person who is really bothered by the wise men in the nativity scenes? They weren’t AT THE NATIVITY! Just one of those things we all assume because we’ve always heard it but, in truth, is not biblically accurate. Kinda like Jesus was born in a stable-won’t find that in scripture either! Yes, it was a manger that we ASSUME was in a stable but it never actually says it was a stable. 🙂

    Happy 2014!

    • Kim Aguilar

      Nope, you’re not the only one! But I absolutely love Katie’s post, nonetheless. What they did to be there, to see Him, to bring Him gifts I’ve only just learned about this year… It takes my breath away. They weren’t just wise men, they were God’s men.

    • texasnorth

      I think MOST folks know the wise men came later… but we cant’ have them left out of such an important scene, can we? I don’t mind them being there, if a little early, as a representation of the community of support Christ had at His birth.

  • Kim

    Katie, everything about this is so needed in my life right now. I want that courage and that closeness and that margin and that new identity, and I so want to rewind time and take back that stupid decision three years ago to take a job I hate for “security” when all it’s done is pull me into a deep dark pit away from the person Christ had just formed me to be. Anywayyyy, thanks for sharing this post. You brought up a lot of stuff. 😉 Happy New Year!

  • Margie

    Oh, yes! FYI, I read Preparing for Jesus by Walter Wangerin every Advent. He does pieces on all the “major players” in the Christmas story – Zechariah to Mary – with insights I’d never, ever perceived before (fear, trembling, wonder, elation). Even though I’ve read it 4 years in a row, it’s new every time.

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