As a young boy, a child witnessed abuse and dependence. His mother resolved to end the abuse from her boyfriend on more than one occasion, but seemed unable to follow through on the plans she whispered to her son.
She promised him that once he was in school she would find a better job and they could start a new life. The boy looked forward to school with anticipation and impatience, as the day his mother would be free and finally happy. His mother was true to her word and moved to a woman’s shelter when he started kindergarten.
Financially things were not easy for the two of them. His mother was a teen when she had her son, and had not finished school. Because of this, her job opportunities were very limited. She changed jobs frequently until at last she was hired at a local drugstore as a clerk. A year later, the missed meals and financial burden of unemployment and poverty began to diminish as his mother continued to work at the drugstore and told the boy about her customers and their children. She relayed how the children ran through the store without any control and purposely moved items around or broke merchandise. The boy determined never to be out of control like those children.
As the boy progressed through school he struggled with reading a great deal. His classmates snickered at his inability to fit the words together into concepts. Inside his emotions pent up into unreleased anger and bitterness. He was determined not to lose control, but once or twice he let his fury take over. He attacked the other child, but only when greatly provoked. After the second fight, he saw the damage on the other boy’s face. His anger scared him, seeing how much damage he could do. It reminded him of his mother’s old boyfriend. He wasn’t going to be like that, he told himself. He took to letting his emotions out on empty bottles he found in the dumpster near his home.
On particularly bad days he pounded the shattered bottles into tiny shards and then carefully scooped them into a dustpan and back into the dumpster. One day he decided to keep the shards as a reminder not to ever let his anger get the better of him. He used it to remember the day when he first took control of the anger inside him. One day a situation caused the little bottle of glass shards to be heated. In the process the shards were joined together into a bright collection of many different colors. The boy was fascinated with the combinations of colors and the way they complimented each other and reflected the light. He studied how the holes in the lump added to the effect, almost like a honeycomb.
Over the next several months the boy began intently working to duplicate and expand upon his discovery. He devised a method to shape the collection of colors and began forming experimental shapes from the lumps he had once been satisfied with. Two years later and still a young teen, the boy’s creation had become art in high demand. So much demand that he was interviewed by local news stations, art collectors, and a popular daytime television host. He found he could afford a new car for his mother.
The boy expanded his collection further, shaping his colorful glass lace into all sorts of items. Although he couldn’t read as well as some, he persevered in researching various production methods. He developed ways to mass-produce his products using molds and layering. His techniques improved, and consequently demand soared.
His biggest customers were environmentally-focused clients who loved to display his picture frames and wind chimes as proof they were supportive of recycling. The boy’s mother had joined him in the endeavor, shipping packages and tracking payments – and even designing a few items herself. The two had a comfortable living and lacked for nothing, but never forgot their very humble beginnings.
Moral of the story:
12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
In this story we delve into a humble beginning by today’s standards. In thinking about this verse, Matthew 2:12, I realized the wise men could have proclaimed to everyone in the region that they had found the king. Certainly they believed this child was the king of the Jews, for they bowed down and worshipped him. They were eye witnesses to a huge supernatural event, the promised king had been born at last! So…why when they consulted God did He send them away? Avoid Herod meant avoid spreading this good news to Jerusalem as well. When I look at this through only my human understanding, I see an opportunity lost. It seems that it was God’s will to ensure Jesus birth continued in less-than-ideal surroundings. Such a humble birth, such a disappointing death to his followers.
All these things go contrary to how I would orchestrate the greatest life lived on planet Earth. Sure, humble beginnings can make you stronger or more resilient. I came from somewhat humble beginnings too. I marvel to think I sometimes spend more on one meal than my mother did for a whole week of groceries – and I don’t live extravagantly! However, there’s more to Jesus’ story than just the humble beginning. This king Jesus, born to be despised and rejected – is now glorified and victorious.