I have been reading today, on how controversial the Christmas season has become in our nation. But as a Christian who studies the Word of God that does not surprise me. Christmas has always been a controversial subject. The very first Christmas was during a time of political upheaval. New taxes were being levied on the people of the country.
There was a census taking place.Sound familiar? Everyone had been ordered to travel to the town they were born in, to take part in a census. It was in this way that everyone would be sure to be counted and then added to the new tax rolls.
It was during this time of uncertainty about the future that God chose to come into this world in the form of a human child born of a virgin. Keeping a promise that had been made hundreds of years ago, to Adam and Eve.
In the New Testament of the Bible, in the book of Luke, chapter 2, you can read just how God made that promise happen. He could have chosen to fulfill that promise in so many ways--but he chose the best way.
He began by visiting a priest named Zacharias first, letting him know that he and his aged wife would have a son. He was met with unbelief that this could happen. Because of that, Zacharias was told that he would not be able to speak until the babe was born, as a sign that what was told him was true and also as a punishment for his unbelief: being a priest and a scholar of the Old Testament, he should have understood and believed.
God was not only fulfilling scripture through this child he had given Elizabeth, (John was the one who would be that “voice in the wilderness") but he was also providing emotional support for Mary so that when the time came she would have a family member who would understand her situation and would be a strong ally and prayer partner at one of many times when ,if you will stop to think about it, Mary needed it most.
He sent ahead (by angels) to make his plan clear to those directly involved. At this time, he didn't proclaim to the world what he was doing; the world didn't need to know --yet. Only Mary, Joseph, Zacharias, and Elizabeth, The four people directly involved. Even then he didn't tell Elizabeth and Zacharias who would be the mother of the Messiah. Why? Because he hadn't asked Mary yet.
After He had sent the angel to visit with Mary's Uncle who was a priest, to tell them of the baby and what the baby's name was to be, then he sent the angel to talk to Mary. The angel explained to her the plan and the honor that had been given to her to be the mother of the Messiah.
All the Jewish women knew the prophesy of the Messiah and how he would come. And I can imagine that all of them prayed and hoped that perhaps God would choose them or their virgin daughter to be that one that would be chosen to carry the son of God.
Just as you, when God unmistakably answers your prayers and you are surprised by it; Mary was surprised and confused as to just how this was to happen. The angel explained just what Mary needed to know at the time, the rest she would have to trust God with. That was the first test of her faith. Mary passed with flying colors when she surrendered.
Stop for a minute and think about what Mary surrendered to God that day.
Mary was engaged to be married. She was a virgin, a woman who had never had sexual contact with any man or woman. She was still living at home with her parents. The penalty for premarital sex was death. Would her parents believe her? Would her fiancé believe her? Would God really take care of all the details?
That day Mary, the future mother of Jesus, the Messiah, looked at what was being asked of her by God, she looked at what it may cost her, and made a conscious decision to trust God with her life.
She didn't have a telephone to call up Aunt Elizabeth and run this by her, or even run in the house and check this out with Mom. Just as God comes to each of you today and lays before you a his plan for your life, he came to Mary and said this is my plan for you. And although it isn't written down, Mary did have the option of turning it down; just as he still gives you the option of turning him down in his plan for your life.
What did Mary surrender that day into God’s capable hands?
• Mary surrendered her future marriage
• Mary surrendered her reputation
• Mary surrendered her relationship with her family
• Mary surrendered her physical safety
• Mary surrendered her life
Mary surrendered everything in her life as she knew it at the time, and also her hopes and dreams for her future. She trusted God to give her a new one that would be even better, and He did.
And God will do it again for you, if you will surrender to him. His plan is always the best.
What did Mary gain?
• A wonderful understanding husband
• A stronger marriage as a result of letting God handle the details
• A reputation of submission to the will of God that has been studied by women for centuries.
• A family relationship that grew stronger
• Protection by the Most High God, for not just this earthly life, but for all eternity.
• By surrendering her life unconditionally, Mary gained her life, and so much more. She became that vessel that God used to bring millions of others to the saving knowledge of his Son, Jesus Christ.
May God richly bless you this Christmas Season, and throughout your life as you consider what you have to gain by surrender.