All I Want for Christmas Is to Trust Like Mary

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:26-38 ESV)

 The second request on my Christmas list is to trust like Mary.  Can you imagine going about your day when all of a sudden someone claiming to be an angel appears, says that you are highly favored by God, you will conceive a son, He is from God, He will sit on the throne of David, will reign over Israel forever, and there will be no end to His kingdom.  I would be looking around for a television camera or a group of my friends rolling on the ground laughing.

 You can tell by Mary’s response she wasn’t so sure of this stranger, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” If this was going to happen, she needed a little clarification.  “Gabriel, I understand what you are saying; however, I have never known a man so how can this be possible?”  She was a virtuous, God-fearing, righteous woman.  She just didn’t understand how this could happen to her.

 Gabriel patiently helps her to understand with God nothing is impossible.  Then, we see Mary’s trusting heart, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” She simply trusted the word of the Lord and submitted to God’s plan.

 Mary could have taken time to explain how inconvenient this was going to be on her. She was engaged to be married, so when Joseph found out he could accuse her of being unfaithful and have her stoned to death. Intimate relations outside of marriage were strictly forbidden, so even if Joseph didn’t have her killed she would be ostracized from her community. She could wind up being a single mom trying to raise a child on her own in the poverty-stricken city of Nazareth.

 Mary immediately trusted the angel once he explained God’s plan. So, this year for Christmas I want to trust like Mary.  I want to trust that God’s plan for my life is what will bring Him the most glory and the most good for me.  I have no idea what 2012 might hold; however, I want to trust God to meet my every need.  He promised to be with me regardless of life’s circumstances.  By trusting His love, I can find contentment regardless of what comes my way.  For Christmas this year I want to trust like Mary.

All I Want for Christmas Is to Obey Like Joseph

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. (Matthew 1:18-25 ESV)

 Okay guys, let’s go back to when we were dating our wives.  You’ve grown up together, been in church together, worked in the fields together, and now you are both of the age to get married.  You have watched this young woman her whole life, and she is one of the godliest women you have ever met.  The best description of her is found in Proverbs 31:10-31—a virtuous woman. You have talked to her father and made all the arrangements to be married on a specific day.  You both are excited and looking forward to spending the rest of your life together.

 One day before the wedding she comes to you and say, “I had a vision from God yesterday. He sent an angel to tell me that I am with child and He will be the awaited Messiah.”  How would you react?  As for me, the first words out of my mouth would be, “Check please!” or “I’m outta here!”  Most of us would dump her faster than she could say “Do you believe me?” However, that is not how Joseph reacted.

 The Bible tells us that Joseph was looking at divorcing her quietly so that she would not be stoned for adultery.  Then, while he was sleeping, he had a vision from God.  An angel told Joseph the baby is of God, his name is to be Jesus, he will save his people, fulfill Scripture, and will be Immanuel—God with us.  Without a question Joseph took Mary as his wife and raised Jesus like his own son. Joseph was obedient to what God had called him to do.

This year for Christmas, I want to Obey Like Joseph. As I read through Scripture and see how God would have me to live, I want to be obedient.  I don’t want question what He knows is the very best for my life.  If how I respond to God’s Word shows what I actually believe about God, then I want to be completely obedient to Him.  I can spend hours explaining why a certain Scripture is not really for the 21st century, which means I am free to do as I please. However, discounting Scripture is a sure sign of disobedience.  If I love God I obey Him, so if I don’t obey Him, do I really love Him?  The first thing I want for Christmas this year is to obey like Joseph.

All I Want for Christmas…

There are numerous events that have happened over the past forty-seven years, some I can remember better than others.  However, there are certain memories from my childhood that are as clear in my mind today as they were forty years ago.  Those special times never seem to fade like so many other memories.  They are always present, fresh, and crisp in my mind.

One set of memories that I have is an accumulation of several of the same memory.  That is to say, every year just before Christmas my parents would place a book in my lap and let me read through any section I wanted.  It didn’t matter whether I was six, eight, ten, or twelve years old I always longed for the Christmas season just so I could look through the “BOOK!”  At this point I should probably explain what book I am talking about.  I would love to say that at the age of six and up I longed for the opportunity to flip through the pages of the Bible at Christmas time and read the nativity story; however, that would be a bit of a fabrication—okay, it would be a blatant lie.

In the early years of my life, there was only one book that could take me away from racing Hot Wheels, riding my bike, climbing trees, playing baseball, or watching countless hours of “Gilligan’s Island,” “Andy Griffith,” and “Gomer Pyle.”  Only one book could bring to a halt a hyperactive child that only knew two aspects of life—sleep and play!  What book had such a powerful effect over me? Quite simply the “Sears Christmas Catalog.”  You can laugh, but it is true.  Each year my  parents would give me a sheet of paper and “The Book,” then I would write down everything I wanted for Christmas.

What a wonderous time of the year!  I was able to look through over 200 pages of toys and write down ANYTHING I wanted.  The excitement was almost too much for a child to endure.  My mind would race as I would imagine playing with each toy that I add to my ever-growing list.  The anticipation of Christmas morning was excruciating as I continued to examine my list of 50, 60, and sometimes over 70 different toys. What made the wait even worse was the knowledge that within a matter days any ten of these could be all mine! The memory of these years are very special to me.  That was a special time of the year when I could ask for whatever I wanted and know that I would be given a few of the toys on the list.

With Christmas racing upon me so quickly, I begin to think about the “Book.” These memories lead me to begin a mental checklist of things I would like to get this year for Christmas—a dozen golf balls, a new television, or any number of items that I think I need.  The problem is there is no longer a book to look through nor a list to be made.  The nervous sleepless nights just before Christmas are no longer an annual event.  I guess it is all part of “growing up.”

I suspect all this sounds a bit depressing, and to be perfectly honest there have been times throughout the years I let the loneliness of the season bring me down.  But this year I decided it would be different.  This year I determined to look through the Book and write down what I want for Christmas.  However, this year I made a list of things that if asked for I am guaranteed to get them. So, over the next few days we are going to look through the book, not the Sears Christmas catalog, but “The Book” better known as the Holy Bible as I share with you my Christmas list for 2011.

I hope you’ll check back tomorrow as we begin looking at “All I Want For Christmas.”