Merry Christmas everyone!!
Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday for many reasons: all of the lights, the decorations, the happiness and the birth of the Savior of the world, Jesus. I specifically love meditating on the Christmas story this time of year. The Christmas story is amazing to me because God used normal people to save this world. Understanding the reality behind Jesus’s birth reminds us that God can use each one of us in ways that we could never imagine, if we were to have the faith and trust that Mary and Joseph had.
Mary is just a girl, she is super young, engaged to be married. She is a faithful servant to God; and God noticed her and favored her. He decided she would be the one to mother His own son. So an angel appeared to Mary…
God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin. She was engaged to marry a man named Joseph from the family of David. Her name was Mary. 28 The angel came to her and said, “Greetings! The Lord has blessed you and is with you.”
29 But Mary was very startled by what the angel said and wondered what this greeting might mean.
30 The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary; God has shown you his grace. 31 Listen! You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of King David, his ancestor. 33 He will rule over the people of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will never end.”
34 Mary said to the angel, “How will this happen since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel said to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will cover you. For this reason the baby will be holy and will be called the Son of God. 36 Now Elizabeth, your relative, is also pregnant with a son though she is very old. Everyone thought she could not have a baby, but she has been pregnant for six months. 37 God can do anything!” (Luke 1: 26-37).
Okay what we have to understand here is that Mary is just a normal person, and an angel appeared to her. At this time, just like now, an angel appearing to someone is unthinkable, some would say it’s impossible, but an angel appeared to her and told her that she was to carry, birth and raise the savior of the world. Could you imagine if someone told you that? You would have thought she would of said, “let me sleep on it,” or “let me think about it,” “let me talk to everyone about it first.” But no, this is what she said, 38 Mary said, “I am the servant of the Lord. Let this happen to me as you say!” Then the angel went away. (Luke 1: 38). In that same conversation, in one setting she saw a supernatural being, that supernatural being told her that though she was a virgin she would become pregnant, and that baby is God’s son, Jesus. She said yes, she trusted the angels words to be true, she trusted the miracle that was about to come, and she trusted God’s plan for her. I wish I had that much faith!
So now Mary is pregnant, and getting pregnant unmarried was not okay, especially because she was engaged to be married. Can you imagine what other people thought of her, what other people said about her. I am sure everyone thought that she had cheated on Joseph, because getting pregnant with the baby Jesus was not a thought going through peoples minds. Joseph was planning on divorcing her and then an angel appeared to him in a dream. Again, angels appearing is not a common thing…
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[a]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[b] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[c] because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[d](which means “God with us”).
So, once again we would think that Joseph may ignore his dream, not believe his dream, or have to take the time to think about it! But no… the bible says, 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus (Mathew 1:25).
How amazing is that faith, that trust, that obedience, these are normal people guys… Could you imagine what we could do if we all had this kind of faith, trust and obedience?
So now to my favorite part of Christmas! It is not just a day to celebrate the birth of Jesus. It is a day to celebrate the birth of the hope that Jesus brought, the birth of being able to truly access God, the wiping away of sin and shame, the beginning of the end of the war, the start to the conquering of the world by Jesus. God humbled himself not only into flesh, but into a baby, to be born into the world and dwell among us, feel what we feel, and see what we see. He experienced this world, he experienced the evil, the hatred and He still loved us so much that He willing lived to die, for us.
So during this Christmas, try to do even more than just celebrating the birth of baby Jesus. Celebrate and think about the faith that Mary and Joseph had and how you can try to follow through with something God is telling you to do today. Celebrate the new life you have through Jesus, celebrate all that came with Jesus when He was born on December 25th in a manger. Celebrate that God is always good and Jesus covered all sins. Celebrate that we don’t need to worry, we don’t need to try to earn Heaven, God himself gave us the ultimate Christmas gift, salvation.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).