The Christmas season is in full swing with Amazon warehouses asking for volunteers to help send packages due to record breaking stats. The shopping malls are flooded with people last minute shopping. The sky looks like expensive crystal glistening in a china cabinet, and shimmering lights illuminating throughout the crowded loud cities. Snowflakes falling as if they were small pieces of diamonds to sparkle and tickle ones eyelashes. Holiday music floating through the air giving a magical feel, and bringing Christmas cheer. Children bundled up tightly, waiting on the school buses, their tiny noses and frost bitten fingers as red as Rudolf’s nose, all eagerly awaiting for Winter break.
However, our Christmas in the twenty-first century has very much evolved from the first Christmas that took place in Bethlehem. Before there was a Saint Nick, before there was a decorative Evergreen Conifer, before the song “Jingle Bells” was written, and egg nog was a holiday favorite. You’ll find a young Jewish lady receiving the greatest prophetic word on her life. A divine purpose to carry, nurture, and love our Lord Jesus Christ, Emmanuel. The greatest event to ever take place in all of history, and Mary was a unique puzzle piece in the story. She was a key that unlocked a door for the supernatural to burst through.
Scripture doesn’t state, but I presume Mary often times felt very lonely. One may possibly ask, “Why do I think she felt that way?” Every God-called person experiences lonely times, silent moments when it seems God isn’t listening or even there. However, they hope God has something great in store for their life even if they see nothing spectacular in sight.
I can see Mary as she knelt down to pray in the middle of the still dead night, seeking for some kind of direction from God . She was nervous for everything was about to change, and she would soon be wed to a man she barely knew. She crouches down in silence with her head bowed, her long silky ebony hair flowing around her touching the floor, with only her heart speaking deep utterances, when she senses a shift in the atmosphere. She doesn’t feel alone, nor afraid at the moment. Something in her stomach leaps as the spirit of peace begins to shower her like a rain storm in the Spring. A God-sent message sealed with divine approval coming down from above by the Angel Gabriel.
“And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:”
Luke 1:28-32 KJV
Mary found favor with God, and was blessed among women. What a gem this Mary truly must’ve been. Which raises up questions in my mind as well as my heart. How do we today find and keep the favor of God, and what made Mary so different and treasured above other women? Was it her family name, or her magnificent beauty? Maybe it was her innocent lovely unique personality? Scripture doesn’t elaborate on what made Mary so impressive to God, but we know she got his attention! We know from scripture, Mary was a virgin. Which means she was pure in her body. The angel tells her that the Holy Ghost will come upon her, and she will conceive the promise in her womb. We know later leads to the supernatural saving grace being birthed in our world.
I believe Mary found favor because of the pure humble life-style she lived before her call. I can’t help thinking God favored her due to her future as well. Yes, Mary was chosen, called, and highly favored. However, not without a high cost to pay. The day of Mary’s holy visitation not only called her to greatness, but also down the road of suffering.
The angel didn’t tell her she would have to hide and worry over a king wanting to kill her son. The angel didn’t tell her she would have to travel miles by an animal’s back to only give birth in a dirty stable. The angel didn’t tell her she would have to release her son to fulfill the will of the Father. No one gave insight that years down the road she would have to watch as they mocked her baby, spit in his face, beat him without a cause, strip him of his garments, place thorns upon his head, and build him a cross his wounded body would have to carry. She watched in the crowd that day screaming in agony as Roman soldiers nailed her child to a cross. Then, hung him up for all the world to see with absolutely nothing she could do about it.
No, the angel didn’t tell her that night sitting in her room what would come to the child she cleaved so dear to her heart. While she cried and mourned over the death of her promise child, she knew this day would come, but why so soon? She loved him dearly, and couldn’t possibly live without him. Yet, she knew all along that her family’s life was called to greatness. She knew Jesus was only given to her for a short season, and knew he was far to special to remain on earth. Mary kept the faith making it through every trial and tribulation that came her way. Never once do we find Mary cursing God for bestowing a calling on her she didn’t choose.
Was this the place God saw something special in Mary? Is this where she found favor in the eyes of God? For he knows the beginning from the end, and sees the hearts of men. He knows who is going to truly live him, and who will stay steadfast to the end. God knows us better than we know ourselves. So to be called, chosen, and highly favored sounds awesome, which it is even when you have to endure the heaviness of the call. There is a peace in knowing you fulfilled the will of God at the end of the day.
I can’t help but think of missionary Sis. Janice Alvear. I imagine all these years of their life on the mission field has been less than ideal. While fighting sickness, intense heat, mosquito viruses, and needing financial support for the work of the kingdom was very difficult at times. There was probably many days she wanted to give up, but the call to fulfill God’s will was so much stronger than hers. Children who needed to see the love of Christ, now see it through the eyes and graceful hands of his servant. There wouldn’t be churches in Brazil today if not for a young lady who gave up her life to live as Christ. A lady who was humble enough to overlook the dirt on their face, and the lice in their hair to only wrap them in her arms for a warm hug. I’m sure that she sits back looking over her life with a smile on her face today. A heart completely filled, overflowing, and rejoicing by the shoes she was privileged to walk in.
I believe we can find the favor of God today if we keep ourselves pure, and submitted to God’s supreme authority. If we stay under the anointed flow of our Pastors it will trickle down to us allowing the favor of God to be manifest in our lives. However, if we want to keep the favor, we must continue steadfastly in the apostles doctrine. We have to buy this truth, and sell it not believing it’s line upon line, precept upon precept. There as to be such a deep love in our hearts for God that we are willing to die for him. D.L. Moody said it like this, ”
Some day you will read in the papers that D.L. Moody of East Northfield, is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now; I shall have gone up higher, that is all, out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal- a body that death cannot touch, that sin cannot taint; a body fashioned like unto His glorious body.
I apologize for not writing an upbeat Christmas blog filled with Christmas cookie recipes. I only want to bring remembrance to what took place for there to be a Christmas today. It wasn’t just so we could enjoy the luxuries of life, but Christmas was a pivotal point when God moved heaven and earth to fulfill the salvation plan. When He chose a young lady to give up her life to carry his cross. My! That is very powerful! I hope everyone has a wonderful Merry Christmas! Remembering the reason for the season! God bless and love you all.
“I only wish I had one more life to give for missions.” ~Sis. Alvear