The Spirit of Christmas

Merry Christmas from the Madrids!

 My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. Luke 1:47

Jesus lives at our house. And it’s His birthday.

He is the Spirit of Christmas—Holy is His name. And whether you are thinking of the Baby in the manger, the Child whose parents escaped with Him into Egypt, the Teenager in the temple in Jerusalem, the Prophet scattering moneychangers’ tables, the Healer restoring vision to blind eyes, the Deliverer liberating the demoniac, the Teacher revealing the truth of the eternal Father, the Savior dying upon Calvary, the Lord rising from the dead, or Christ His Majesty ruling on high at the Father’s right hand . . . He’s here this Christmas. -By Rev. Jack Hayford

A Willing Heart

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Everyone tends to think a little bit more about the Christmas account the closer they get to December. However, there is so much to learn from the story any time of the year. The entire story is incredible.  We see angels heralding heavenly messages to men below.  We read of wealthy wise men and their elaborate gifts as they “follow yonder star.” Humble shepherds appear, excited to behold the promised Child.  All these events are marvelous to read about, but how often do we consider Mary?

 At such a time, girls were married very young – around 14 or 15 years old. They were considered women by that age, and held far more responsibilities than the young females of today.  They washed clothes by hand, mended garments, watched the younger siblings, and assisted with the livestock and gardens.  She was a busy young Jewish woman, faithfully serving God and preparing for marriage. With all these tasks already on her plate, Mary had her hands full without a supernatural pregnancy to think about.

The arrival of the angel must have been one of the most earth-shattering moments of Mary’s life.  I could imagine her dutifully making her bed, expecting nothing out of the ordinary, when suddenly: “And having come in, the angel said to her, ‘Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!’” (Luke 1:28) Her response to such an announcement was probably much like ours would have been: “But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.” (verse 29)

As if that wasn’t enough, the angel continued: “Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. You will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.” (verse 30-31) I could imagine her brain working overtime after such an announcement. Why would He choose me? How on earth does someone conceive by the Holy Spirit? What am I going to tell Joseph . . . and my parents . . . and my friends? How do you take care of the Son of God . . .? What came from her mouth was logical: “Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?’” (verse 35)

The angel, of course, had a ready answer: “‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.  For with God nothing will be impossible.’” (verses 35-37)

Despite all the questions her finite mind might have come up with, her response came from a heart dedicated to God: “Then Mary said, ‘Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.’” (verse 38).  By her reply, we know God has chosen accurately. He knew her heart and the willingness in it to do whatever He asked her to do. She, in turn, knew His heart, His ways, and His love – so faith and obedience was a natural response.

We’re grateful that Mary’s response was so faith-filled, but consider what might have happened if Mary had said, “There’s no way a woman could get pregnant like that – with the Son of God or otherwise! I just can’t believe it!”  Would God’s plan to bring the Savior into the world be suddenly shut down? No, God’s plans don’t end because of someone’s unbelief. He’ll find someone else! Consider, though, how sad to it would be to forego being used in a supernatural event just because it seems so unthinkable.

Mary was an “average” girl in the world’s point of view. What set her apart from the rest in God’s eyes was her virtuous, God-seeking heart. We don’t have to be born into a high-status family to be chosen by God. We don’t have to be famous, known by more than just the handful of people in our tiny town. There’s no rule that says we have to be multi-talented and witty. The only ingredient needed is faith and willingness. Together, they open the door to the supernatural working of God – an incredible plan that only He can design.

“Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” Luke 1:45

 

Counsellor


Do you need counseling? One of Jesus’ titles is “Counsellor.” He, coupled with our Helper, the Holy Spirit, will give us all the advice we could ever need. He will not steer us wrong or make us feel inferior. He will give us insight into things only He can see, empowering us to come out of our confusion and into victory. Love – not a paid fee – is His motivation. He won’t set a timer and is available 24/7. He is ultimately the only counsellor we will ever need! 

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder. And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6