It is so hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that Christmas day is only in a few short days from now. Time never stands still – not even for one second. Sometimes it all feels so surreal – I know for me, it feels like just the other day my children were all little and now they are all grown up. And so…I’ve been thinking about time – how quickly it flies by…
It’s now been over 2000 years since the birth of our Lord Jesus. Time didn’t stop then and it doesn’t stop now. I can hardly imagine how surreal it must have been for Mary to have the angel Gabriel come and tell her that she will have a beautiful baby boy – While we have heard this text and this story a hundred times, I am still caught in the Angel’s words:
“Greetings Favored one…Do not be afraid.”
First of all, I would be scared to death if an angel came and spoke to me. I would for sure think that I had probably died. But, then to be told that I have found FAVOR with God would be overwhelming. FAVOR – meaning “chosen”, or “Preferred” – It’s like being a “Favorite or a ‘teacher’s pet.’”
Would it not be hard to see yourself as something really special? It would not be difficult to just put yourself up on a pedestal?
But, Mary doesn’t. In fact, she never makes it about her. When told she will have a child, she never considers and hesitates how this is going to mess up her life and ruin all her plans.
I’m sure Mary had big plans for marrying Joseph – Where would they live, how many children they might have together…
She never took into consideration that she couldn’t just go run out and tell everyone her wonderful and joyous news of having a child –
She never took into consideration that Joseph may not even marry her now – that he will never believe her story. Not to mention that because she was a woman who lived in the margins of society, she could have been stoned to death.
She never took into consideration that her life would never be a normal life.
But instead, without hesitation, she says “Yes” Let it be so.
I have wondered what it must have been like to raise the Lord – to watch him grow up…to know he is your Son, but that ultimately he is God. And, then thinking that your Son was going to be a King – the One who was going to turn everything upside down – the poor would become wealthy, there would be justice for all people…her son had the power to change the world…
And. So Jesus does…however, it’s not the way people thought it would like. Our minds can hardly comprehend what Jesus did and is doing!
Instead, she is a mother who watches her son be brutally killed, beaten, and hang on a cross .
That day the angel came…she never took into consideration what she would experience..the brutality and hate her son would face.
The angel proclaims, “Greetings Favored one…Do not be afraid.’
There was a little girl, who would not want to open her gifts on Christmas eve. The family was always so perplexed when every Christmas, she would look at her gifts, sit and stare, and then quietly get up and walk to her room. Her parents thought that she just didn’t want the gifts they had picked out for her. This went on for a few years.
Finally, one Christmas, her grandmother was visiting. This little girl loved her grandmother so much. They were always very close. So, they were sitting on the sofa together – and with her grandmother’s arm wrapped warmly around the little girl, she asked her granddaughter:
“Tell me, why is it that you never want to open your Christmas presents on Christmas?”
The little girl responded: Grandmother, I have been told that Christmas presents are only for those who are good – I am not good all the time. I can’t take the presents. Her grandmother drew her beautiful granddaughter even closer, and said:
“You see, sweet one, those presents under the tree represent LOVE. And, we love you even when you have done wrong. We love you no matter what.”
The little girl then left her grandmother’s arms to pick up the doll that sat under the tree.
The angel proclaims, “Greetings Favored one…Do not be afraid.”
You see, God did not just find favor with Mary. God finds favor with each one of us. Jesus, our Lord and Savior is LOVE. We know that because of what Christ has done for us! We know Jesus is love because He loves us even when we have done wrong. He loves us no matter what.
JESUS IS LOVE!
He is love because we make mistakes and He loves us especially when we don’t deserve it. But yet, still God’s gift of the Christ’s presence is here! God is here with us no matter what we have done wrong. God forgives us because of Christ and his death on the cross.
I cannot help but to wonder if Mary took into consideration the wonderful gift she gave the world when she said, “Yes.”
Christmas day will be here in just a few short days. It is a day of joy, excitement, and happiness. It is a day of rest, reflection, and an opportunity to be with family.
Time is quickly passing. It didn’t stop 2000 years ago and it isn’t going to stop now.
But, the angel still proclaims, “Greetings Favored One. Do not be afraid.”
This is our message this Christmas season as we remember and celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. It is God’s gift to you:
You are FAVORED in the Lord’s eyes. His gift to you is the presence of a God who is always with you. Whatever you have done wrong, no matter how much you are hurting, and especially in your suffering. God sends His Son to draw you closer to the God who loves you so much.
Do not be afraid.