Marriage and Family: 3 ways to fight the Christmas hustle and bustleDecember 16, 2015
Christmas is our favorite time of year. Our schedules are jam packed with fun, family, friends, parties and so much more. But if we are not careful, we can miss what is truly important about Christmas. If you don't want to get lost in the "hustle and bustle" of Christmas this year, here are 3 ways to keep this from happening!
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 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. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.(Luke 1:26-32)
For just a moment, put yourself in Mary's shoes! Can you imagine what she must have been thinking? The scripture says she was greatly troubled and wondered what kind of greeting this must be! The greeting from Gabriel had to blow her mind. How would you feel if Gabriel showed up and told you what he told Mary? Yet, in the midst of these feelings, we find two key phrases that can help us from getting lost in the "hustle and bustle" of Christmas!
First, the phrase "you who are highly favored" means having been much graced by God. The same form of this phrase is used only one other time in scripture in Ephesians 1:6 where we are reminded to be "to the praise of the glory of his grace!" In other words, Gabriel was telling Mary that God had found much grace in her and had much grace for her, so much grace that He had hand picked her to carry the very person and presence of God in the form of Jesus Christ. She, his humble servant (after all God give grace to the humble - James 4:6) would be the mother of the Savior of the World...to the praise of the glory of his grace!
Second, the phrase "you have found favor with God." The word "favor" means to have divine influence upon your heart that is reflected in your life. Again, the angel Gabriel was assuring Mary that the Lord had seen her heart. He knew the divine influence that was upon it and how Mary had demonstrated this and reflected this in her life. God knew that Mary was the perfect person to carry his son. After all, man looks on the outside, but God looks upon the heart.
So what does all this mean for us this Christmas? First it reminds us that the birth of Christ was an act of Gods grace. Never forget, the response of heaven to restore righteousness to us was soley through an act of God's grace. Second it reminds us that because of the grace we have received, we should embrace the divine influence of God in our lives such that it is reflected in the way we live! So this Christmas respond with a heart of grace, a heart that is thankful for the unmerited favor of God. Thankful and grateful to the point that it changes the way you live.
Here are three things grace does for us!
1. Grace assures us that we are not alone (Luke 1:28)
2. Grace allows us to face our fears (Luke 1:30)
3. Grace reminds us of the greatness of Christ (Luke 1:32)
In response to all of this, Mary replies: “I am the Lord’s servant”, “May your word to me be fulfilled.” then she breaks out in song (Luke 1:46-55) and in her response, we find 3 ways to keep from getting lost in the "hustle and bustle" of Christmas!
1. Let Christmas remind you of God's awesomeness and in response to God's awesomeness - WORSHIP!
2. Let Christmas remind you of God's authority and in response to God's authority - SURRENDER!
3. Let Christmas remind you of God's ability and in response to God's ability - SERVE
How will you respond to Christmas this year? Perhaps you need to elevate your worship of your Savior! Perhaps you need to surrender to Christ's authority in a new or renewed area of your life! Perhaps you need to start serving Christ with renewed passion, purpose and vision! Whatever it may be, Christmas is an amazing reminder of God's grace. So take some time this Christmas and in response to HIS GRACE, slow down through worship, surrender and serving!
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