The message of Christmas is that God became one of us.
He came into the world to change the lives of real people with very messy lives.
We need to hear afresh the news that He is still among us. We need to hear is still with us changing people & cleaning up messes. He ’s still here to change you & to change me & to clean up the messes we make.
The previous post talked about how the Evil one uses the media to shoot arrows of unattainable expectations into our hearts leaving us feeling discouraged, defeated & disappointed. We are left feeling we will never do Christmas ‘right’. We get overwhelmed by all that we have to do or all that we have to be . We get distracted & miss the fact that Immanuel is still with us. He is leading us through the details of how to live Christmas 2014.
Distractions can overwhelm us. They can send us down the rocky path of worry, anxiety & paralyzing fear.
Distractions can rob us of peace & joy.
To find the answer to our distractions; the answer to the worries that are robbing us of Christmas we need look no further the the central character of the Christmas story- an unwed, pregnant teenager .
Mary’s words & actions give us tools for dealing with the worry, anxiety & terrifying fears in the midst of the messes of life.
Why did God choose Mary to bear Jesus?
What was there about her faith, her relationship with God that enabled her? What strengthened her to face the shame, the rejection & potentially the death of herself & her baby long before he was born?
Mary was an uneducated teenager probably thirteen or fourteen at most. We know nothing about her parents or her upbringing. Tradition says her mother was named Anne.
We have no idea why the angel said she was highly favored by God & that He was with her.
We know little about her faith & her relationship with God .
We do know that she had the confidence to question the angel when he told her about the pregnancy.
We do know that her faith was so strong that she was able to respond saying “May it be to me as you have said”.
The possibility of being stoned for adultery under Jewish law was very real .
If by some miracle she wasn’t stoned to death many questions & worries must have filled her mind & heart. Where would she live? How would she provide for the baby? Would Joseph leave her?
Mary was engaged & pregnant but not by her fiancée, Joseph.
She was telling a wild story about an angel & a baby who was conceived by the Holy Spirit . Even more outrageous was her belief that her baby would be the Messiah; would be the Saviour of the World.
If your thirteen year old came home with such a story what would you say or do?
Mary traveled alone & on foot through the dangerous hills of Judea to visit Elizabeth, the one person who would really believe her & offer protection for the baby. Elizabeth was also having a miracle baby.
Three months later Mary made the return journey home. Now visibly pregnant, she faced an uncertain future.
How did she find the inner strength & peace to face , the potential rejection by Joseph , the birth of this child & the later exile to Egypt to escape the murdering armies of King Herod?
We find the answer in a song that Mary wrote & sang while still staying with Elizabeth. (Luke 1: 39-56) Mary’s Song is often called the Magnificat.
Magnify is to hold in greater esteem or respect; to enlarge; to colour or elaborate. Glorify means to bestow honour or praise; to light up brilliantly; to cause to be seen better then before.
My Soul Magnifies the Lord and My Spirit Rejoices in God my Saviour.
What Is Worship?
It was out of a deep relationship with God she was able to worship.
Mary defines worship very simply. To the angel she said ; “ I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be to me as you have said”.
Mary made an active choice to reflect on (think about) and express out loud:
- who God is
- what He had done for her people (Israel) .
- what He had done for her personally.
- that God is a god who speaks.
- that God is a god who acts
- That God can be trusted
Out of those acts of praise & thanksgiving she experienced a peace & a joy that overcame rejection, worry, anxiety & fear.
Even on the day she saw her Son who was also her Saviour die on a Cross she had peace.
Peace & Joy Enabled Faith Filled Choices in A Messy Situation .
How do we find peace & joy this Christmas?
How do we confront our fears & the anxious choices that result?
Write Your Own Psalm
- Be real
- Talk to the One who hears
- Pour out your heart to Him
- Tell Him how it is for you on the inside
Write Your Own Magnificat
• Where have you heard Him speak to you?
• Where have you seem Him act for you?
These memories will :
• Intensify your image of God-
• Enlarge our understanding of Him
• Light Him up brilliantly
• Enable trust
In doing so
• The worries seem smaller
• The fear will dissipate
• There will be peace.
My Soul Will Magnify My Lord
My Spirit Will Rejoice In God My Saviour
Faith Filled Choices Free me From Fear
There Is Joy In the Midst Of Sorrow