Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rising to meet Christmas Challenges!

You see it on the faces of people. You can hear it in their voices. It is clear by the way they walk through the crowds at the mall, stand in the long lines, or even try to smile at a passerby. Once again we find ourselves surrounded by the challenges of Christmas. There is real fear in people’s lives that challenges their finances, their families, and even their faith. Will this Christmas live up to its billing? Will everything get accomplished? Will there be hope in a new year? God…are you there?

Mary understood these feelings. When the angel came and announced what God had chosen to do in her life she was probably filled with more questions than answers. She faced real challenges relating to that first Christmas event. However, in reading scripture she faced these challenges in several ways that might be good reminders to us this year.

Mary heard the announcement of the angel and she trusted God with action. She said, “I am the Lord’s servant. . . May it be to me as you have said (Luke 1:38, NIV).” This year might be the year that we trust God enough to do that which we have known for a while He has called us to do. Certainly it might be hard and it might challenge the fiber of who we are, but we can trust God enough to take action. I also think it is important to see that she trusted God with some accountability. Mary went to the home of Elizabeth and soon realized that the work and plans of God were much bigger than herself. God was at work all around her bringing about His purposes. This time of being with Elizabeth brought some much needed accountability and encouragement to her life. We need the same in our lives. We don’t need to face the challenges of Christmas alone. We need to invest in the lives of others. Finally, I believe that Mary trusted God with real adoration. Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior (Luke 1:46-47, NIV).” This Christmas adoration for our Lord should be the chief characteristic of our celebration.

Times are difficult for many people, but our Lord is great! He is Emmanuel…God with us. We are not alone this Christmas. Therefore, in testimony to a lost and hopeless world, we need to rise and face the challenges of Christmas with adoration and the joy of Jesus in our lives.