At this stage of history Mary must have been feeling pretty uncomfortable. She was nine months pregnant, or near enough. It was likely summer and she had to travel to Bethlehem. The destination was about 130 kilometres from Nazareth. If she wasn't already on the donkey, she would have been preparing for the trip. How do you prepare to spend five or six days on the back of a donkey when 'heavy with child'?
Who could blame her if she now questioned her ready obedience to obey the angelic request. Not to mention God's timing. If He planned this child, couldn't he have organised it a little better so it didn't coincide with a census?
However, she had replied to the angel, 'Be it to me as you have said.' So I'm sure she pushed ahead with little complaint.
Producing a book has been likened to have a baby. It starts with a seed of an idea which quickly multiplies, grows and develops. There is the realisation that we have a book in the womb. We develop characters, themes, word pictures, plots, emotions. As each week passes, the concept develops. Details become clearer. Images are refined. Pushing ahead, we work hard, ignoring the cost and discomfort until we are ready to bring forth our literary masterpiece.
And like babies, books are born everyday. But occasionally one, like Jesus, rises out of the crowd. There is something different about it. People start talking, maybe arguing and criticising.
Do you, like me long to have your writing noticed? Would you like your book to engender passionate discussion on Twitter causing everyone to talk about it. Of course, we would have to accept some low rankings and scathing reviews on Amazon. Maybe we would even have to field inflammatory emails. Would it be worth it?
Take, for example, The Shack. It has 4,801 reviews on Amazon. One of them begins this way. 'A poorly written, philosophically bankrupt, theologically challenged airport novel.' Ouch! Some love the book. Others hate it. But millions have read it and, in the process, their thinking about God has been reignited.
What made Jesus stand out of the crowd? It was all because of his Father! He was the Son of God, born for a purpose.
This raises a question. If we are the mother of our books, who is the Father? Who plants the seed in the womb of our thinking, that begins the creative process? Do we accept any old seed or are we more discerning?
Is there a possibility that God is looking for a womb where he can safely deposit a seed that will produce writings carrying his DNA. I believe our Father has fresh concepts to plant within us. He wants some of us to bring forth ideas previously unheard of. Some of these ideas will engender gossip and will be misunderstood. They will be radical and emotive. These books won't satisfy the established religious system, but will reflect the True God and His character. They will travel far beyond the Christian book market.
Only the discerning recognised baby Jesus as God's son. Most passed Him off as Mary's illegitimate kid. They liked Him but didn't recognise who he was.
Some of you have written such books, seemingly passed off as unsuccessful. Maybe it is a case of timing. Or maybe, like John the Baptist, they are making way for the book that God is yet to deposit within you.
Lets open our creativity to our amazing God. As we go into a new year, let us say with Mary, 'I am the Lord's servant. Let it be to me as you have said.'
Lord, as you move across this Great Southland of the Holy Spirit, use us to spread your message of love and hope.'
Jo Wanmer, lives in Brisbane with her patient husband, Steve. She is the author of 'Though the Bud be Bruised', and is nurturing the embryo of her next book deep within her mind.