Do any of these words describe you? Hurried. Scattered. Stuffed. Forgetful. Busy. Packing. Behind. Broke. If they do, you aren’t alone. Christmas is our annual reminder of why Santa takes the sleigh rather than the interstate and how the mall got its name.
For some, however, this time of year brings more than hassle…for some it brings heartache. Many use words like these to capture their Christmas feelings: alone, discouraged, depressed, angry, hurt. For some, the sight of happy children is a reminder of a vacant crib. The busy social schedule of some only highlights the empty calendar of others. Images of families together reinforces the pain of families apart.
This season can be challenging. If you’re looking forward to December 26th more than December 25th, then I’ve got a story for you to consider. I’d like you to consider God’s invitation to one of the key characters of Christmas: Mary.
“Do not be afraid,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God. And behold you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.” …Mary said to the angel, “How can this be since I am a virgin?” The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy child shall be called the Son of God.” (Lk. 1:30, 31, 34, 35)
Mary could have spun and run, but she didn’t. Here is what she did. Perhaps with a prayer, no doubt with a gulp, she replied, “Behold the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word. (Lk. 1:38)
And so it was.
And so Christ was born.
And so we have to wonder. What was that like? To have God within you. To have the Maker of the Universe reside inside you. To sense his moving, nudging and elbowing and think, “Divinity is stirring within me!” What was it like?
The answer is closer than you might imagine.
God gives you the same offer He gave Mary: the supernatural deposit of His son in your life. Scripture declares: Jesus lives in His children.
“Christ in you the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:27)
“Those who obey His commands live in Him and He in them.” (I Jn. 3:24)
Take note of the precious preposition “in.” Christ isn’t just near you or for you or with you; he longs to be in you. God offers you the same Christmas gift he gave Mary– the indwelling Christ. Christ grew in her until he came out. Christ will grow in you until the same occurs. Christ will come out in your speech, in your actions, in your decisions. Every place you live will be a Bethlehem and everyday you live will be a Christmas. You, like Mary, will deliver Christ into the world.
A fetus in Mary, a force in you. He will do what you cannot do. Wasn’t this the promise of Jesus?
The same hand that pushed the rock from the tomb can shove away your discouragement. The same power that stirred the still heart of Christ, can stir your flagging faith. The same strength that put Satan on his heels can, and will, defeat Satan in your life. The same power which brought Christ into Mary’s world, will bring Christ into your world.
Taken from Max Lucado’s email list (December 18, 2010)