Dec15ThuThe faces of Christmas December 15, 2022
“For with God nothing [is or ever] shall be impossible.” Then Mary said, “ Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel left her.”Luke 1:37-38
Do you ever think about the faces of Christmas? I was pondering the Christmas story this week and the people God invited into it, and I couldn’t help but wonder. If you really think about it, would we have chosen any of these men and women to be a part of the story? Mary? Joseph? The wise men? An old couple, Zechariah and Elizabeth? Shepherds? It’s such a mishmash of different and unexpected people that only God could take them and create a miraculous story.
Take Mary for instance. She comes unto the scene and all we know is she’s a virgin, single, engaged to a man named Joseph. That’s it. Now if you or I would be writing the story of God coming to earth, do you think we would have Him being born a baby, much less being born to a poor, single, Galilean girl? Probably not. But God is full of surprises. He doesn’t choose a powerful and wealthy married couple for the birth of His Son. No. He choose a humble girl. A single girl. And we have to ask along with Mary,“..but how can this be?” How is it possible?
Mary. This face of Christmas teaches us a valuable lesson. First, with God all things ARE possible. Second, God often chooses the least expected people to accomplish great and mighty things. If you’ve ever wondered and asked: but what can I do?...you are in good company. Mary had zero influence, she was a young and single woman. She had no power, no money, nothing that would tell us she’s of importance. She was ordinary. Yet! Yet, she was perfect for Gods story. God choose her, an ordinary girl,to do something extraordinary.
Let the story of Mary encourage you today. As you think about her and her situation, I pray you’ll see that like Mary, you are not insignificant. The message of the angel to Mary is also the message that God wants you to hear today: “Rejoice, favored one! The Lord is with you! Do not be afraid!”
God sees you. God cares for you. He is for you. Mary is a beautiful reminder that our Father comes and meets us in our lowly estate of being. He comes and elevates those that the world considers insignificant, ordinary, unqualified. If you have been waiting for wealth, for power, for a platform to make a difference maybe you should read this story again. See how it rejects the idea that you need wealth or influence to be used by God. He’s the Creator! He’s the Creator of this beautiful and wonderful world we live in. If He can create such magnitude and magnificence, is He not also able to create in the details of our lives? Never forget that He can and does create for us the times, sources, situations, working behind the scenes to do something more wonderful and surprising than we can imagine or think. No, He has not abandoned us and He never will. Jesus is proof of that.
Because of Jesus we can have hope. Hope in the Lord, hope that a kingdom is coming and is a future reality felt even in today. Hope that God is able. Hope in the midst of instabilities that He is our saving grace, our salvation. He is hope. He is an everlasting hope and He keeps us in perfect peace as we set our minds on Him. I watch the sparrow and the chickadee in the midst of winter, so small against the elements, so insignificant in the grand scheme of things and yet God takes care of them. Their needs are met and they survive the harsh cold. I watch them and all I can think is, what a wonderful picture of resting in the care of the Creator. This is what peace looks like.
Next time you feel like you are not worthy or qualified, remember the story of Christmas. God can and does work through the most ordinary people. In fact, He loves to! To me, the most beautiful and amazing thing is that God chooses to partner with people. He chooses to partner with us to show the world heavens goodness. Thank God that our worth is not dependent on our circumstances, situations, charisma, or wealth. Thank God! Our worth comes from God who sees us, loves us, and wants to be in union with us. And yes, we need the reminder that our circumstances and present reality is not eternal, but His character is eternal and He is faithful. He has an eternal destiny for me and you that isn’t at all connected to our emotions and feelings and circumstances. Praise God!
This Christmas, may we see the favor of the Lord upon our lives. Mary was called highly favored by the Lord. This doesn’t mean that she was granted a life of unbroken happiness or endless moments of joy. Favor in this instance meant that God is willing and able to use you. The favor of God targets anyone who is willing to be a part of His story. It isn’t like He randomly chooses people to bless with His favor. No, anyone can partake. God desires to use me at this time in history! God desires to use you at this time in history. Do you believe it? It’s a glorious truth. His favor is yours, just reach out and receive it. The older brother in the prodigal son story is a perfect example of how one can be highly favored and yet not know it or receive of the Fathers grace and inheritance. This older son had to learn the gift of grace and favor. It was his to begin with, he just never understood it. Let the words that the Father spoke to him also penetrate our heart: My son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours!” Luke 15:31. It’s so simple and easy to understand, isn’t it? Don’t complicate it, instead like Mary did, take this truth and ponder it in your heart.
God, thank you for the many wonderful reminders in the story of Christmas. Thank you for your ability to work in and through the most ordinary people. Help us to see the insignificant and unqualified with Your eyes, and to care for those that are hurting in this area. Help us to reach out in kindness and make us vessels of hope. May we be light in the darkest night.
Father, elevate our perspective to see that in our waiting, or hopelessness, or whatever situation it might be, Jesus is always along side us and connected to us. Holy Spirit, bring a refreshment this season and bring comfort and restoration that we may know You are renewing us, even in the in-between or difficult moments. You can do the most amazing things with a humble and servant heart. So here I am, send me! I’m so thankful for Your love. Help me to base my worth not on what I am or own but on how deeply you love me. May Your Word and Will be fulfilled in me, in Jesus Name, amen.