December 10.  Love Up-close and Personal   

“For the Mighty One has done great things for me; Holy is His name.  And His mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear Him.”   Luke 1:49-50

I am not sure exactly how it happens in all instances, but there are obvious interruptions that can flatten the worship and celebration of Christmas.  Parents can often feel overly pressured to buy the perfect gifts, or pressured by financial problems that can restrict gift buying.  Travel plans can seemingly wreck any hope of normal holiday experiences.  Activities can belabor the calendar to a regrettable place of sheer busyness.  And with such distractions, the soul’s connection with the central message of Christmas can be subtly interrupted and even lost.  Now, it is important to note that these distractions are not inherently bad, but they can quickly become an enemy of the advent season if we are not careful.  So, how do we rise about such distractions?

In Luke’s account of the birth narrative of Jesus, we are given insight into those months leading up to the coming of God in the Christ child.  In response to the angel’s message of how the Christ would physically come through her, Mary sings jubilantly a chorus of thanksgiving, praise, and worship.  There is no doubt of significant distractions that threatened to temper her joy.  The Bible tells us that Mary was perplexed as the angel informed her that she was under God’s favor.  (Luke 1:29)  Her perplexity may have simply signified fear, but more probably was a sign of overwhelming disbelief that she should receive such pronounced favor.  She later responded to the angel, “I am but a virgin” (Luke 1:34) indicating a humble recognition of the impossibility to have a child.  Yet, with these distractions she took God at His Word and obeyed with, “The Mighty One has done great things for me.”  Do you see the significance of her words?  She focused on the nature of God (the Mighty One) and His work in her life (He has done great things for me).  Is this not the ultimate focus of Christmas, and of the entirety of the Gospel?  God, the Mighty One, has stepped into our lives so personally that we can say with Mary: “He has done great things for me.” 

So, the next time you feel as if commercialization has squelched your Christmas fervor, remember that God Himself came to us as if there were only one of us.  He came to intervene and accomplish something we could not do on our own.  He came to save us, to deliver us, and to make us His own.  This is love.  This is Christmas.          


Today, read Luke 1:46-55 an allow Mary’s song to remind you of how God’s love became up-close and personal through the birth of Christ.

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