“But the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.” Luke 1:30-31 (NIV)
I’m not much of a television girl.
Except at Christmastime.
That’s when I get my annual fix of Hallmark movies, Rudolph, and Frosty.
But my all-time favorite is a Charlie Brown Christmas.
Perhaps it’s because there’s a little bit of Charlie in me.
Every year I accompany him as he finds that unlikely little tree (the one with a pitiful few needles), then takes the heat when his friends disrespect his decision.
(Not to spoil the story, but that unlikely little tree turns out to be magnificent! Just sayin…)
In the midst of his despair, he cries out to the heavens:
“Is there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?!”
Boy, I can relate.
That’s why I decided to actually pause in the midst of this year’s holiday crazy to read THE Christmas story in my Bible…
“Unlikely”…because I don’t read it every year.
Or, even every other year.
Oh, but I’m quick to decorate, bake, sing, and shop like a mad woman all in the name of Christmas.
Yep, I think it’s time for some truth, so let’s start with Mary.
“In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, 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.” Luke 1:26-28 (NIV)
Think about that, friend.
You’re just living your life, rejoicing in your friend’s (unlikely–but that’s another story) pregnancy, and God’s angel, Gabriel, appears right before your very eyes, declaring that you are “highly favored”!
How would you feel?
And yet, God chose Mary.
GOD CHOSE MARY.
Unlikely in the world’s eyes is chosen in His.
I know what you’re thinking, “That’s a sweet little story, but God doesn’t care about me like that.”
Why? Because it seems so unlikely?
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:8-12 (NIV)
The shepherds aren’t that different than us, are they?
I mean, they were plugging along in their jobs, never anticipating that an angel would appear and announce the birth of the Son of God!
After all, that would be so…so…
Oh beloved, what is your unlikely?
That the x-rays will show the cancer is gone…
That your wayward child will find his way home…
That your finances will last another month or even another week…
That you will find peace in the midst of life’s demands…
That you will finally and forever feel loved?
Oh dear one, will you join me at the manger
In the stillness of that Holy Night?
We are so much more than an unlikely in our Father’s eyes.
We are chosen.
We. Are. Loved.
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:13-14 (KJV)
And that, as Charlie Brown’s bestie Linus would say, is what Christmas is all about.
Spread your joy,