“And Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough – because there was no room for them at the lodging place.” (Luke 2:4-7, HCSB)
It seems that the images of Bethlehem on the evening that Jesus was born portray this small, quiet little town that was hosting some out-of-towners because of the census that was declared by Caesar Augustus. The town was sleeping. The smell of fresh baked food was lingering in the streets. Calm conversations were being held on the front steps of some of the homes. A few songs we sing even portray the town as quiet and surreal.
Sometimes, that’s the image we want to see when we think about the Messiah being born in this small Judean town.
However, the scene had to have been drastically the opposite. Most likely the town was chaotic. People from all over had flooded back into Bethlehem to be counted for the census due to the decree of Caesar Augustus. Many of them had traveled long distances. There was probably not enough food for people to eat. The smell of animals and trash could have been overwhelming. You could hear voices that were angry because they were not getting their way. No one was getting much sleep in this little town.
And then it happened.
In the middle of all of the chaos, Peace was born in form of a baby. And His name is Jesus. He is the Hope of the World. He is the Prince of Peace. He is the Author of Salvation.
Young adults face a world today that is full of chaos. Just turn on the nightly news and in thirty short minutes we hear about cities decimated by war, we’re faced with financial questions that affect everything from food and gas, and we’re heartbroken by crime that seems to dominate the headlines.
It’s pretty chaotic. Every day.
As young adult ministry leaders we have the opportunity to point individuals in our community toward trusting the Peace that comes through a relationship with Jesus. Will they face difficult situations that may affect decisions and future plans? Most definitely. However, in the middle of all of the chaos and noise, the Peace of a Savior was born and continues to be the hope that we put our trust in.
How we can remind young adults that Jesus is the Peace in the middle of the chaos?
- Speak of Jesus often.
Are there people in your life who obviously have an intimate relationship with Jesus? Often, you can tell by the way they say His name. Speak often of Jesus around young adults so that they know that He is the most important relationship in your life – even in the middle of your chaos!
- Ask frequently how you can pray for them.
If you ask them, they will tell you! And once you ask them, make it a priority to pray for their specific need. Don’t forget to follow up a week or two later to ask them how the situation is. When young adults know that others are praying for them, the opportunity to bring peace in the middle of that chaos is reality.
- Be realistic.
The reality of chaos is that it’s, well, chaotic! Acknowledge that their situation or circumstance may be loud, crazy, and unpleasant, but that they don’t have to live there. The fact that Jesus was born into that did not make it any less chaotic—but there was Peace in the arms of Mary and Joseph on that not so quiet night.
As a young adult ministry leader, you have been given a gift. The opportunity to invest into the lives of young adults is a blessing that is immeasurable. Point them toward the Peace that is real and the Hope that is eternal this Christmas season and beyond.
Mark Whitt is the Collegiate and Young Adult Specialist at Lifeway Christian Resources. Before joining Lifeway, he spent many years on the campus of Murray State University as a campus minister. Connect with Mark via Twitter.