I had such a sweet time with the Lord this morning. I decided that I wanted to read the Christmas story and spend some time reflecting on the reason we celebrate Christmas...the birth of a baby that will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
God does not cease to amaze me. I read and was amazed once again by His goodness. I think the thing that keeps hitting me this year is that He did not have to do this. He did not have to come, but in His goodness He chose to come, to be mocked, to be tempted, to be hated, and to be murdered. I just can't separate these two events. He came so He could die. He came to redeem His people. He came to display His glory and His splendor!
Can you imagine being Mary? Have you ever really pondered this. She was obviously a young girl of great faith. We know this by the way she responded and believed that she would have the Lord's son. She experienced so many great things and people spoke great words about this baby who would be born to her. An Angel appeared to her and called her favored one
(Luke 1:28). The angel said this baby would be called great and the son of the Most High (Luke 1:32). Elizabeth saw her and said she is blessed among women and called her the mother of her Lord (Luke 1: 42 an 43). Mary was so overwhelmed by these experiences that she broke into song praising her God. A little later we hear Zacharias speaking of the Christ who will born and says the Lord has raised up a horn of salvation for us (Luke 1:69).
Then the day comes for Jesus to be born, to have His humble earthly beginning. He was born among the animals, He was worshipped by the lowly shepherds who reported to Mary and Joseph how the angel had appeared to them and said I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." (Luke 2:10-14).
And how did Mary respond to these strangers who brought this news...she treasured these things in her heart, and pondered on them (Luke 2 :19). A few days later, Jesus is taken to the Temple to be circumcised when they met Simeon. The Holy spirit had revealed who Jesus was to Simeon and he spoke saying "my eyes have seen your salvation" ( Luke 2:30).
I don't know why all these things were said, but I wonder if part of the reason was not for Mary. Can you imagine hearing such a clear message from the Lord about your child? She must have felt overwhelmed by the presence of our Lord and the words that had been spoken to encourage her. She must have known deep connection with the Father at this time. She was just a simple girl and God had shown His favor on her. I wonder if much of this was not to prepare her for the suffering that she too would experience. After all this encouragement Simeon goes on to say that This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too. (Luke 2: 34-35).
This may have been her first glimpse at the suffering the future would hold for Jesus, and as his mother, for Mary. She is told that a sword would pierce her soul also, but in the Fathers goodness He had prepared her. She was favored by God and the scriptures tell us so often that those who are favored, those who are chosen are called to suffer. And she would suffer...she would see her son murdered in a violent and awful way. She would be so torn and hurt in her flesh...but she had this experience this bold encounter with the Lord to fall back on! We can see how the Lord was Mary's Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). How has He been this for you this year? These are the things I will, like Mary, ponder in my heart today. Will you join me?
I will leave you with a few pictures from Aidan's Christmas play at school. He was Joseph and the play was so adorable! It brought tears to my eyes to see the way the Lord is writing His word on these kids hearts. I also put a couple before church yesterday. Enjoy and have a very Merry Christmas!