Because He Turned Water into Wine

Christmas has come and gone and it is now the New Year. I spent my day packing away decorations and making hambone soup with black eyed peas. They’re still good luck the day after New Year’s Day, right? I am always a bit depressed while putting Christmas decorations away. The colors, smells and lights of Christmas are the best part of the year, and when I put it all away, I am reminded that I have to wait another eleven months to bring them out again. When I think about Mary waiting for the arrival of Christ, I wonder if she had a similar feeling once he had arrived. The anticipation of birthing a savior filled her, possibly with mixed emotions. Then, Jesus was born, the wise men came and the new little family received gifts. Once the wise men left, reality set in: She had to take her baby home, and real life began.

Can you imagine what it would have been like to raise Jesus? Was the Son of God ever given a time out as a child? Or, would raising a perfect child prove to be more difficult than we could ever imagine? I mean, how do you tell Jesus Christ to brush his teeth and get in the bed? Then, one day, you are at a wedding with your son, the King of Kings, and his disciples when the hosts run out of wine (John 2:1-2). Mary’s initial instinct is to tell Jesus “Hey, there’s no more wine (John 2:3).” What is Christ’s response? “It is not yet my time (John 2:4).” Then, Mary does what any mother would do in this situation and tells the servants, “do whatever he says (John 2:5).” So, in turn Christ performs his first miracle and because of this miracle, his disciples believed in him (John 2:11).

My favorite Christmas song just happens to be Mary Did You Know. My version of choice this season was by Pentatonix. Have you heard of them? I had it repeat for the entire month of December. The song gives me chills every. Single. Time. The last verse of the song begs some pretty serious questions:

"Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would one day rule the nations? Did you know that your Baby Boy is heaven's perfect Lamb? The sleeping Child you're holding is the Great, I Am."

My answer to these questions is yes. Mary knew that she brought the Lord of all creation into this world. She knew that her baby boy would one day rule the nations, that he was heaven’s perfect lamb and the child she tucked into bed every night was, in fact the Great I am. How do I know this? The answer is simple: because she knew that he could turn water into wine.

Looking into the New Year, what kind of work do you need Christ to do in your life? Are you prepared to do what Mary did and boldly ask Christ to work in your life? What if he tells you as he told Mary, “it is not yet time?” Do you have the patience to allow him to reveal himself in his perfect timing? We do not know how long Christ waited after Mary asked him to do something about the wine to perform his first miracle, but we know he did it. Also, as the scripture continues, we see that the wine he created from water was the best wine served at the wedding. This gives us comfort that Christ can and will exceed our expectations. My New Year’s resolution for us all is to be bold in our relationship with Christ, knowing that he will reveal himself in our lives in 2016, because we know that he can turn water into wine.

But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” John 2:5

Lauren Rutland Hightower Children’s Minister University Church of Christ, Shreveport

His Glory Was Revealed

It’s that time of year, where family get-togethers are the center of the season. Family traditions of good food, gifts, games and gatherings take over for a short time.Celebrations are carried out with gusto and much fanfare. 

In our family, Santa brings our stockings to the foot of our bed. As a child I believed this was because the wood burning stove would melt our gifts from Santa.As a momma, I realize this was my parents’ ingenious idea to keep the kids in bed for just a little while longer before the chaos of gifts and breakfast and fun begins.

The piling in of cousins, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas makes Christmas both fun and stressful. At our house, we fed 21 people for more than a week.That’s a LOT of food! The number of trips to the store to get everything and make sure everyone had what they needed could have kept several people employed for weeks.

Even though it is not a simple endeavor to put the whole family in the same house, every year we make the trek to find time with family.We are never disappointed in the time well spent. Although not celebrated annually, two other life events are also guaranteed to bring the whole clan together: weddings and funerals. 

My brother is getting married this spring.Even in the midst of winter, the planning is in full swing. There will be food, friends, family and a small army to help make sure everything runs smoothly.Wedding invitations will be sent and RSVP’s will be requested.

On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. John 2:1-2

I don’t know what the family traditions were like in Cana, but we find Jesus at a wedding with his mother. Yet, we see Jesus and his disciples (the men he JUST called from the previous chapter) are all attending the wedding. I am guessing the disciples did not send in their RSVP cards on time.

Maybe these extra guests are the reason the wine has run out. Maybe the wedding was a family affair, we don’t know. Maybe, just maybe, Mary feels somewhat responsible for the impending disaster of no more wine at the wedding. Either way she comes to Jesus.

When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” John 2:3-5

My kids are adorable. They say and do the cutest things. Right now my son runs through a room like Buzz Lightyear, his arms stretched out as wings with his pointer fingers raised to be the lights. It is so stinking cute my heart leaps as I watch him. He smiles and jubilantly hollers “To infinity and beyond.”

When all the grandmas and aunts are in the room, I want them to have the experience of seeing my kids’ tricks, skills and above all cuteness. Of course, like most kids if I ask him, “James, show Grammy your Buzz wings.” The answer is “no.” They will show their stuff on their own time, which sometimes means not in front of family.

I wonder about Mary. How did her family feel about Jesus? What sort of indications did he give that he was the Son of God? Was she like me? Did she desperately want the family to see how amazing her son was? Just like my adorable children, Jesus said, “My hour has not yet come.” But then he did what his mother had asked.

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing,

each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” John 2:6-8

Jesus took stone water jars, “the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing,” and turned the water intended for purification, into wine. An interesting symbolism, as today we drink the wine of communion to symbolize our being made new, our purification, in Christ. You see, Jesus makes things new. He took the old purification jars and made new wine in them. He takes us, old vessels, and makes us new creatures. In this transformation his Glory is revealed.

I don’t know why the Son of God chose this moment to do what he did. Maybe it was to honor his mother. Maybe it was planned all along. But I do know the scripture says:

What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. John 2:11

This was the moment, the first moment when his Glory was revealed. He symbolically showed the Glory of the Lord in the water of the purification jars. At this very moment, the disciples believed in him. 

As the holidays come to a close and families return home to their regularly scheduled lives, how has the glory of God been revealed to us? God brings healing to our hearts. He takes old traditions and fills them with life and love. He makes things new. He comes into the vessels of our lives and fills us with the sweetest wine.

It turns out that in our regular daily lives we have traditions too (known as daily schedules).As we begin the New Year, may our eyes see how Jesus is renewing the habits, traditions and rites to which we hold fast. Maybe, if we are observant, we will see the Glory of the Lord revealed in our mundane experiences as He takes our lives and makes us new creations.

Jessica Knapp Youth Minister, Mountain Ave Church of Christ Tucson, AZ