The life lessons of the first Christmas have similar overtones to our lives.

No matter when you were born, living by faith is a challenge.

Let’s gaze into the mother of Jesus and see how she handled a big surprise.

God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin, Mary, engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Congratulations, favored lady! The Lord is with you!” Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.

“Don’t be frightened, Mary,” the angel told her, “for God has decided to wonderfully bless you! Very soon now, you will become pregnant and have a baby boy, and you are to name him ‘Jesus.’ He shall be very great and shall be called the Son of God. And the Lord God shall give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he shall reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom shall never end!”

Mary asked the angel, “But how can I have a baby? I am a virgin.” The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of God shall overshadow you; so, the baby born to you will be utterly holy — the Son of God. Furthermore, six months ago, your Aunt Elizabeth — ‘the barren one,’ they called her — became pregnant in her old age! For every promise from God shall surely come true.” Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to do whatever he wants. May everything you said come true.” And then the angel disappeared. (Luke 1:26–38, TLB)

Let’s set this up … Mary is a teenager. Like every teenage girl, Mary imagines being married to the man of her dreams, having children, and settling down to raise a family.

Mary was an everyday girl with a special heart for God.

Mary is engaged at a young age, and a strange thing occurs during the engagement. Mary has a visitor from heaven — an angel sent from God. Yes, it’s real. Mary was only 14 to 16 years of age when she encountered a messenger from heaven. This angel is brings an alarming message -“You will carry a child, and your fiancé is not the father.” What? 

The angelic encounter was a complete surprise to Mary. Wouldn’t it be for you? Mary does not deny or challenge the intrusion of the angel or the pregnancy. Gabriel’s message includes a message that Mary is favored by God.

How being pregnant without an earthly father is not what many would call a favor from God. But Mary handles the moment with courage and nobility. Rather than doubt the message, she embraces the visitor with a question, “How can this be?”  Mary embraces the moment by faith and trusts God beyond her ability to comprehend Him.

Mary learned to embrace what she did not understand.

Mary could have said, God, this is too much! But no, she said, “Let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38, NKJV)

Like Mary, may this Christmas find us in the grace to embrace challenging moments with great courage and enduring faith. 

Thank you for reading this post. we would love to hear from you. Leave us a comment or tell us a story about your Christmas with family or friends.

Merry Christmas.

This post first appeared here. 


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