|Posted on December 18, 2019 at 10:35 AM|
Mary, the mother of Jesus, provides us with a spiritual model for truly celebrating Christmas. While this celebration is exciting for many reasons, like time off from work or school and the opportunity to visit family and friends, the “reason for the season” as they say is the birth of our Savior. The response of Mary to the angel’s message shows us a picture of how each of us can truly celebrate the birth of Jesus.
The message the angel spoke to the young woman was unbelievable! He told her she had received the grace of God to conceive in her womb a son she would name Jesus who would be the very Son of God. Obviously shocked by the message the first response Mary gave was simply, “How can this be?” What the angel said was beyond anything Mary could understand or had ever considered as a virgin engaged to be married. So, the angel explained that God was going to work in her through his Spirit to give her the supernatural ability to bear the Son of God and encouraged her by saying, “For with God nothing shall be impossible”.
Mary’s final response to the angel’s message was a simple statement of faith, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” She believed that she was a servant of God and submitted to his plan for her life. She didn’t try to figure out how she was going to make it happen. Neither did she consult with anyone else to get their opinion of what she should do. She simply chose to believe the message she had received and submitted to the supernatural power and authority of God working in her life to bring forth his Son, Jesus.
While Mary’s experience was surely unique in that she alone gave birth to Jesus, as we celebrate his birth, we may each follow her example of faith. The same Spirit and power that came upon Mary to conceive Jesus in her womb and bring him into this world lives in every believer today. And that same Spirit is actively working in each of us to produce the very character of Jesus in and through us. Like Mary, we each have the grace of God to bring forth the life of Christ into our world. We each have the “high calling of God in Christ Jesus” to be Christ to others around us. The indwelling Spirit of God causes us to “conceive” Jesus within and “give birth” to his life.
The secular world actively seeks to exclude Christ from Christmas turning it in to nothing more than a “winter holiday”. If every believer would simply trust the indwelling Spirit of God to produce the character of Christ in them (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance), we would not only “put Christ back in Christmas”, but Christ would take over Christmas. To truly celebrate Christmas, we need not quibble over manger scenes, the lyrics of Christmas songs, or how we greet others. To celebrate the birth of our Savior we need to be the living Christ to those around us. “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.” -Jesus