Christmas is the time we celebrate the birth of Jesus. We read the Biblical accounts of His birth in a lowly manger in a town far from home and all that happened on that extraordinary night. We rejoice at the fulfillment of the prophecies of the birth of a baby that would save the world. I think most of us are very familiar with the story of Christmas as found in the Bible. In case some are not sure, the text can be found in here (Luke 2:1-20).
I wanted to do a Christmas blog series using a different angle to study some of the lessons we can learn from the birth of Christ. Each week, we will look at the story of Christmas through the lens of 1 Corinthians 13:13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” For this blog, we will look at faith’s role in this story.
Earlier in Luke, we find the story of when the angel appeared to Mary to announce her role in the birth of Jesus. Mary’s response to the angel (called the Magnificat) appears in Luke 1:46-55. Picture the scene, a young girl (estimated to be as young as 14) who just found out she is pregnant by the Holy Spirit. So many questions must whirl around in her mind. I am not married, what will Joseph think? What will my friends and family think? Do I want the responsibility to raise such a unique child or am I even qualified? Mary’s faith becomes evident in the first words uttered after the announcement, “46 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Her faith in these circumstances astonishes me. I don’t believe this would be my first reaction. I think I might be more like Sarah when the angels said she would be pregnant in her old age, and laugh in disbelief (Genesis 18:12).
Although we don’t have a full speech recorded for Joseph’s response to the news, his faith is still evident. As Mary explained the situation to Joseph, we learn he did not want to expose Mary to public shame so decided to send her away privately (Matthew 1:19-21). Did Joseph believe Mary’s story? An angel also appears to Joseph to confirm the news, and he decided to still take Mary as his wife. Joseph’s deep faith in God allowed him to believe in a virgin conception even when none had occurred in all of history. Joseph believed in the Old Testament words of Isaiah 7:14 “Behold! The virgin will conceive and will give birth to a son, and they will call his name ‘Immanuel.'” I pray for such a faith as his.
And, then there are the other characters in this story. The wise men whose faith drove them forward on a long journey for many days, if not years, to see the newborn king. They wanted to worship Him and present Him with gifts. Would my faith be profound enough to follow a star for an extended period? We also see the shepherds in the fields, tending their flocks. They leave everything behind because of the words of a choir of angels. Their faith propels them onward to see the babe in a manger. Would my faith be blind to see the angels?
The Christmas story announces the arrival of our King, but it also demonstrates the depth of faith for each of the participants. Their faith teaches me to keep my mind open to the mysterious works of our Lord. The baby in the manger will lead me to the cross of salvation and, teach me to believe in miracles all in hopes of growing my faith. I pray all of us can learn to be more faithful like the players in the Christmas story. Join me next week as we look at the lesson of hope from the birth of Jesus.
Yvonne – #blogger, #speaker, and #author
Matthew 28:19 “Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”