The advent season is a time for us to slow down and reflect on the birth of our Savior and yet we find ourselves desperately running after things that cannot satisfy: the perfect gift, the perfectly decorated home, some kind of connection with those family members who may be a little harder to get along with than others.
Focusing on the birth of Jesus can bring clarity back into our lives, into our hearts and minds.
Luke 1 tells us that the angel Gabriel came to Mary to explain to her that she was favored and that she would conceive and give birth to a son who would be named Jesus.
Mary questioned the angel, “How can this happen? I am a virgin” The angel replied that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and that the power of the Most High would overshadow her.
Mary’s response was “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”
In Matthew 1:18-25 we find that Joseph had to believe when the angel told him that his life course had changed too.
Mary and Joseph were on the brink of beginning their lives together. When God changed the course of their lives, they followed His calling. Consider the fact that they would be subject to ridicule, gossip, scrutiny; but they chose God, they chose to follow the will of their Heavenly Father. They did not understand what was happening, but they believed, trusted and obeyed.
Life did not get easier. They had to leave their home and go to another town. Riding on a donkey late in her pregnancy only to find there were no rooms available for them. At this point, I wonder if they questioned God again, “Lord are you sure this is the way it’s supposed to be?” But still they trusted and followed.
When the shepherds came to see Jesus they could not keep the good news to themselves and they told everyone who would listen that the Messiah had been born. Luke 2: 19 tells us that Mary pondered all of these things in her heart.
All of what happened fulfilled prophecy in the Old Testament. (Isaiah 53)
We have many hardships in life. We deal with things that we do not understand. God changes the direction of our lives as He desires to bring about His plan for our lives, which He prepared before we were even born. Ephesians 2:10 tells us that we are God’s handwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Recently in my bible study, I have been studying the terms transcendence and immanence. Transcendence means that God is distinct, above and separate from all earthly and heavenly creation. The definition of immanence is: God is everywhere present with His creation, sustaining its presence and power.
The question was asked “do you see God as more transcendent or immanent?”
If we see Him as immanent only, we find that we become very casual with Christ; we view Him as a friend and we may slip in our church attendance, we may become lazy in our devotions and prayer life. We treat Him as a casual friend rather than our Holy God.
If we view Him as transcendent only, we think of Him as a God who has no connect with our daily life. Someone to fear, to be afraid of.
God demands our reverence, our worship. He loves us enough to inspire us to humility and worship of His glory. Priscilla Shirer says in her bible study One in a Million, “God has come… in order that the fear of Him may remain with you so that you may not sin (Exodus 20:20). While the people were allowing an unhealthy fear of God to keep them from intimacy with Him, Moses indicated a healthy reverence that should mark the believer’s relationship with an awesome God.”
As we focus on the birth of our Savior this Christmas season, may we find Him in every single aspect of our daily lives all the while reverencing His power, His sovereignty, majesty, and guidance.
Are you struggling in this season of your life? Have dreams that you have dreamt for years not come to fruition? Are you waiting for a job to come through that hasn’t yet? Has something tragic happened in your life this year? Have you lost a loved one and don’t understand why? Do you want to be married and there are no prospects on the horizon? Has your marriage come to a tragic end? Are you struggling with addiction: to deceit, to alcohol, pornography, to having things your way? Have things you have done in your past hold you back from coming before God?
Whatever it is, dear one, it is my prayer for you and for things going on in my own life that we respond as Mary and Joseph did remembering that they did not have all the answers. Their lives were not easy and yet they followed, they obeyed. I pray that our prayer would be like Mary: “may it be unto me as you have said” and that we would trust Him with every fiber of our being and ponder all of these things in our hearts so that we can turn them all back to praise for the One who holds everything together, even when we cannot understand (Colossians 1:17). For one day, we will see clearly what now we only see dimly. One day we will see Him in His completeness, face to face. Now all that we see is hazy and blurred, but then we will see everything clearly. (1 Corinthians 13:12)
May this advent season find you reflecting on Jesus. May you bring all of your hurts and joys to Him. May you find peace in Him alone and look forward to this new year trusting that He is intimately involved in all of the things that matter to you, all the things that you hope and long for in this new year and that He loves you, has a plan for your life and is powerful enough to bring it to fruition in His way and in His timing.