I recently did a study with some friends and we went through the Christmas story together. Now, I've heard the story dozens of times so I was surprised that I learned a few things. Things I hadn't noticed...or at least thought about before. I thought I'd share them with you...it is Christmas after all.
1. Mary is awesome. No one has heard from God for 400 years. Suddenly, an angel shows up and tells Zechariah (the priest, and the virgin Mary's uncle) that his wife Elizabeth is going to have a baby. He's old, she's old, and he's not so sure this is possible. Because of his doubt, God takes away his ability to speak for the next nine months. (Could it be that his wife got a little giggle out of this?) This baby on the way will be John the Baptist. On the flip side, when the angel comes to Mary to tell her that she, a young virgin girl in podunk nowhere, is going to have a baby...the most important baby that ever has or ever will be born...she is amazed. She never voices a single complaint or worry. When she goes to visit her pregnant aunt Elizabeth, she doesn't lay out all of her concerns to her. She gushes praises to God.
The Point: Childlike faith and praise is the way to go when God tells you something is coming your way.
2. The night Jesus was born started out as the worst day of Mary & Joseph's life. You are chosen by God to be the parents of the Messiah. THE MESSIAH! Yet, here you are trekking for days across rocky terrain only to find that there is no place to stay when you arrive. Nowhere. Oh, and Mary's water just broke. That angel that told you about this is nowhere to be seen. It feels like God has abandoned you as you deliver the baby yourselves - in a smelly cave, in the dark.
The Point:People selected to serve God won't have it easy...but it will be soooo worth it.
3. Jesus is Jesus for a reason. In Isaiah 7:14, prophecy declares, "Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means 'God is with us.')" When the angel tells Joseph that Mary is having a baby he is told (in Matthew 1:21), "...you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." Jesus means, "God saves."
The Point: The entire reason Jesus came is in his name: God came to be with us, to save us.
May you find that the story of Jesus never gets old, but instead rejuvenates your soul this season!