Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas is upon us once again. The end of 2008 is just around the corner. I am truly convinced that this year has been the fastest year ever!

With all of this, I was trying to figure out what to write since I have not blogged for a bit. And I wanted to focus on this time of year. So much of this time of the year gets focused on buying gifts, decorating and cooking that we often forget the most important thing. I mean, sure, we all know that it’s celebrating the birth of Jesus, but how often do we take time to consider the story? The preparation? One of my favorite stories is found in the book of Luke, in fact, the very beginning-

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God."
Mary’s response (how I would LOVE to have this faith!):
"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.

And then, there’s Joseph’s story which can be found in the book of Matthew chapter 1-
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"--which means, "God with us." When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.

The story began with a child. The other night I watched a play where children from kindergarten through 8th grade put on a skit about the announcement of Jesus. Where we don’t really know what the angels might have been doing as they got ready to bring the announcement to Joseph, Mary and the shepherds, we know they had to be ready. We need to be ready too – ready to bring the good news of Jesus Christ – the good news of peace on earth BECAUSE God and sinners were reconciled! Not a peace absent trials. Not a peace because of everything going great. No, a greater peace. A peace that passes ALL understanding. A peace that can only come from a relationship with Jesus. A peace that exists because of the presence of God. And He brings peace through all of our circumstances. And this peace is for all who call on His name –
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.