Some Final Ponderings

by Carolyn Hope

The past two weeks, we’ve observed several different pieces in the story of our Savior’s birth. We’ve read about shepherds, prophets, and angels. We’ve seen individual characters such as Elizabeth and Mary. There are many parts to play in such a momentous birth, a birth that shook the world.

I’d like to leave you this week with a few thoughts:

  1. God took the lowliest and the least and used them in mighty ways. Shepherds were outcasts; angels were often unseen; the prophets were rejected. Mary was ordinary; Elizabeth was old. Every character had multiple reasons for disqualification, yet God never considered those. He chose them, and He chooses you too. When God calls you, nothing can disqualify you. You yourself are enough for the journey He is leading you on.
  2. One ordinary night became an encounter. At an unexpected time and an unexpected place, God showed up. What started as a normal day became a day that changed history. You never know what today could bring. Stay expectant and stay hopeful. Wake up each morning eager to see all that God will do. He is working and moving on your behalf. Today could be the day that everything changes.
  3. God’s plan for your life is greater and more risky than you could ever imagine. Mary and Joseph’s calling to be the parents of the Christ was incredibly dangerous; yet they were never unsafe as they followed the Lord. There will be great risk in your story, and there will even be danger. Do not let those facts deter you or frighten you, for your God is with you through every moment. He will protect you and fight for you through it all.

I hope you have had a very Merry Christmas!

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Sound: Angels

by Carolyn Hope

The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.” (Luke 1:28-30)

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” (Luke 2:15)

Angels would occasionally show themselves in the Old Testament accounts, but in the story of Jesus’ holy arrival to earth, we see them frequently and powerfully. Luke’s record tells us that the main angel in this story is named Gabriel.

Gabriel came to Mary bringing surprising and serious news. Even so, he made sure to comfort and encourage her. ‘Don’t be afraid, Mary. God is pleased with you.’ He called her by her name, and he told her plainly what was to come. I can almost hear the tender tone of his voice as he spoke these words.

After Jesus had been born, Gabriel appeared to some shepherds nearby. He delivered his message, and then a whole host of angels came, singing praises to the Almighty King. When they had returned to heaven, the shepherds decided to go see everything just as the Lord had said. Notice what they didn’t say. They didn’t say, ‘Let’s go see what the angel told us about.’ No, for they took what the angel spoke as words coming from the mouth of God. Gabriel was a transparent messenger of the Lord. He only said God’s words and only proclaimed His truth.

Let us be transparent messengers so that all others see when they look at us is Jesus. Let us be guided by His truth and led forth in His peace. You are a child of the Most High King; you are His representative on this earth. As you seek after Him and let Him pursue your heart, you become more and more like Him, yet without losing yourself. The closer you get to Jesus, the more of yourself you’ll find. Walk with confidence and grace, Beloved one. You can be a light to a dark and lonely world, and your voice can be the sound that changes nations.

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