And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is his name.” (Luke 1:46-49)
Do you know what you are going to get the kids or grandkids for Christmas this year? Have you made out your own Christmas list yet? What would you like for Christmas this year? It’s so easy to get wrapped up in what we want for Christmas or what we want to give to loved ones for Christmas, we forget in the hustle and bustle that God has some wonderful gifts for us this Christmas.
Christmas is the ultimate good news from God. It’s a reason to celebrate with rejoicing because like Mary, God has done Great Things for us! Yet in our culture, the reality of Christmas looks more like scrambling to find a parking space at the congested shopping mall, over commitment of our time and financial resources leading to stress and worry, figuring out the complicated schedule that results from divorced or blended families, a car full of kids bickering on the way to grandma’s house, family members refusing to talk to each other due to an old family feud, deep sadness because a loved one has passed away and won’t be at the Christmas celebration this year. Disappointment, frustration, harried, and hurried, the reality of life, can easily block out the Kodak moment of Christmas we were hoping to experience. We get so wrapped up in all the Christmas hoopla, all the specials sales, and deals, that God’s gifts to us get overlooked.
God offers good news, and gifts that come through God’s grace. The best gifts we can receive this Christmas are gifts wrapped in heaven.
Mary received an unexpected gift, one she never would have thought to ask for. It came by God’s grace in the form of a baby who would open the door for God’s grace to pour into our lives. The Angel told Mary in Luke 1: “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.”
God actually gift-wrapped Himself in human flesh and was born in a stable so He could come offer us life and salvation that we could never gain on our own. Along with the gift of Jesus Christ, we receive the gift of hope, the gift of peace with God, and the gift of love, which God has shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit. God’s gifts to us are life changing, when we are willing to unwrap them and embrace this God who loves us to the uttermost. Through Jesus Christ, Immanuel, God with us, God continues to pour His grace into our lives. His gifts of grace include a new understanding of life, and a new way of living as God’s partners in His work in the world.
I want to encourage you during this advent season, to drop what you are doing, carve out the time to experience God’s gifts of grace, and come and celebrate with the family of God, the good news of Jesus Christ. Let us join together as a community of believers in praise and worship, and then let us together spread the news that a Savior has been born: He is Immanuel and He is Christ the Lord! Have a joy-filled Christmas!
Grace and Peace, Pastor Debbie