Hope for the New Year Wrapped in the Manger

Greetings favored oneThe Lord is with you. Luke 128.png

The manger scene is filled with all the hope we need this weekend, but how often do we minimize the depth of the coming of the promised Messiah?

We read that the Holy Spirit spoke the baby into conception, but we can’t round up enough hope that He will see us through the New Year right?

When you read the Christmas story, are you ever amazed? Jesus was born to Mary just as the angel said.

It had to be a crazy exchange of conversation. Can you even fathom?

Mary in awe-stricken wonder mixed with fear and trembling by an unannounced visitor.     

Heaven help us gals who are lovers of company, but always receive it at not the perfect moments.

The angel delivered a message that fell upon the heart and ears of the mother to be.

Luke Chapter 1 tells it all.

“Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” She knew who the Lord was, but this was impossible crazy talk.

The angel came right out of the gate saying, “The Lord is with you.” Doesn’t that speak to Mary and her relationship with her God already – that He deeply knew her.

Scared? Completely.

Gabriel explains,

“Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.”  What an honor and a fright at the same time!

He continues to lay out the epic news that would bring hope to the entire world.

“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.”

Conceive a son?

The story unfolds to her surprise.

“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”

Mary just needs some clarity.

“How can this be, since I am a virgin?” To which Gabe answers…” The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you…”

I love that Mary was spoken to in this way.

God knew she would be afraid and the words would bring her some comfort so she could entertain the idea of becoming the Momma to the Savior of the World.

We fear don’t we?

The health of a pregnancy.

The unknowns of our futures.

The paths our children might choose.

The ever-loving possibility of change.

The influence of our work.

The ups and downs of our marriages.

The falling apart of our dreams.

The opinions of others.

And then Mary answers…”I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.”

 We read that Jesus is trustworthy – but we are weakened by fear.

 We might trust that He is AHEAD of us, but lose sight that He is also BEFORE us.

He was before Mary that day and He is before you and I this season of celebration.

The hustle, the lists, and all of the planning to make things sweet.

 He is both before our plans and He is up ahead after the lights grow dim.

 God in His infinite love and wisdom gave Mary a heads up didn’t He?

The greatest gift she could have received was the unannounced visitor bringing her life changing words.

 Mary had time to receive the news, worship and wait for His perfect package.

He does this for us friends. He visits us and offers hope in every single season.

Let’s be ones who hope and do not fear.

Let’s be ones who see guests as a gift and and not an inconvenience.

We can have questions and still trust. We can also respond, “I am the Lord’s servant.”

Merry Christmas you guys. May it be filled with fresh wonder in the One who came for you

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