Long before there was Occupy Wall Street or Occupy Oakland there was Occupy Bethlehem.
But rather than union members, and college students, and leftover hippies from the '60's, these characters were an entirely different sort of radicals! Joseph, Mary, Elizabeth, and Zechariah were called on to occupy key roles in the redemptive plan of God. These very ordinary folks were required to become radical in their faith, in their commitment and, especially in their obedience. Rarely has the world seen radicals like these!
A radical redemption from God was required to overcome the results of a radical rebellion that took root in the heart of Lucifer in Heaven and was re-enacted by Adam in the paradise called Eden. Those two acts of flagrant disobedience radically disrupted two perfect places and one perfect plan. They allowed sin to occupy the place once reserved only for God. But the grace of God is much more powerful than the greed of man. God's radical plan was announced right after the destructive deed was perpetrated, So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” Genesis 3:14-15
From the moment of that announcement a patient, purposeful, persistent, and powerful plan was enacted from the heart of God that would require radical faith and radical obedience from a faithful few from generation to generation. Heroes of faith like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, Moses, and David demonstrated a radical preoccupation to having God occupy their hearts. Because each was faithful to occupy their roles in His plan, the stage was set for two teens in tiny Nazareth of Galilee.
If history teaches us anything it shows us the world is shaped by those who are the most radical in their beliefs, desires, and devotion. The rise in radicalism among socialists, communists, progressives, anarchists and militant Muslims should remind us of that fact.
The radical obedience of Joseph and Mary won the Day for God by allowing Him to send His Son to fulfill God's amazing plan and display His radical grace. They also demonstrate for us How God can occupy you, radically transform you and use you to change your world for Him!
During this season when we celebrate Occupy Bethlehem, will you once again become preoccupied with God? Will you allow His Spirit to occupy you and empower you to radically obey Him in the same way Joseph and Mary did? It is time to get radical! Radical righteousness defeats radical rebellion every time!
Christmas proved it!