Summary: It is the most wonderful time of the year! But are we ready? Has it caught us off guard? How do we handle a season we which we aren’t prepared?
Christmas Is Coming!
Pt. 1 - Ready or Not!
It is hard to believe it is the month of December much less almost Christmas. This year at times has seemed like a lifetime while at other moments it is a blur. We find ourselves in the most nostalgic time of year. Visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads. Vivid memories. Stylized celebrations. Fireplaces adorned with stockings. Lights. Bright bows. Ornaments passed down from generation to generation. Family gatherings. Ready or not Christmas is coming! Some of you have been preparing for months. Others, more like me, have probably allowed Christmas to sneak up on us and it doesn't seem real yet. However, can you imagine what it was like for Mary? Think about there has been no Christmas. No indications that anything is special about this season. No tv ads right after the last bite of turkey has been eaten in November. No street decorations to indicate something is on its way. Everything is as it has been. A young lady minding her own business. Living her own life. Making preparations for an upcoming wedding. And out of nowhere she is visited by angels with incredible, frightening, terrifying, life and relationship altering news. You have been handpicked Mary. Chosen. Selected. Singled out. To carry the God child. No time to get ready. No 3-month warning. No prophecy. No whisper. No hint. Boom you are pregnant.
This backdrop leads me to a question. What do you do when God ushers us into a new season without warning? What do you do when you were going about your own business, doing life, making plans, pursuing dreams, content and all of the sudden a new pitch is thrown and it is a curveball? You had no hint. No season to prepare. No indication that a new path, direction, and destiny was headed your way? I ask this question because I think all of us, after this current season, feel this way. We didn't plan for this. We didn't expect this. We didn't even want this. Now what? Christmas is coming! A change is coming! Something is stirring in the air. It is almost like waiting for the other shoe to drop. So, what do we do?
Let's read the account and see if there are any clues!
Luke 1:26-34 (MSG)
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name, Mary. Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her: Good morning!
You’re beautiful with God’s beauty, Beautiful inside and out! God be with you. She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, “Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus.
Luke 1:39-40 (MSG)
Mary didn’t waste a minute. She got up and traveled to a town in Judah in the hill country, straight to Zachariah’s house, and greeted Elizabeth.
Luke 1:46-49 (TPT)
And Mary sang this song: “My soul is ecstatic, overflowing with praises to God! My spirit bursts with joy over my life-giving God! For he set his tender gaze upon me, his lowly servant girl. And from here on, everyone will know that I have been favored and blessed. The Mighty One has worked a mighty miracle for me; holy is his name!
Luke 2:19 (TPT)
But Mary treasured all these things in her heart and often pondered what they meant.
I think there are three things that Mary did that are absolutely crucial for us to mimic as we face off with a new, and perhaps even unexpected, season that involves change and uncertainty.
1. Mary leaned on the right people.
I think we may miss just how crucial it was that Mary chose to visit Elizabeth. In the middle of troubling, overwhelming, unexpected, frightening news she went to perhaps what may have been the only person that would have affirmed and confirmed what God was doing in Mary's life. It is interesting that she didn't run to her own parents. Instead she ends up in Elizabeth's home for the next 3 months. She is in an environment of belief rather than doubt or dismay. I believe she is able to embrace what God is doing, take Him at His Word and trust Him in large part because she was with the right people!
How many of us miss the promise of God, the move of God, the plan of God because we continue to inhabit a atmosphere of doubt, worry, disbelief that rubs off on us and steals our faith? When God is up to something in your life not everybody's open door is the right door. When God desires to bring a miracle into your life not everyone in the right one for us to hang out with or spend extended periods of time with. When God is about to do something new, we need to lean on the right people. We protect our promise and preserve our perspective by the people we choose to lean on in these seasons. The people bitter we will become bitter. The people angry we will become angry. The people scared we will become scared. The people faith filled we will have faith. The people joy full we will be filled with joy. The people peace full we will have peace. You will hear this next statement a lot in the first few weeks of the new year, so just file it away for a few weeks - (SLIDES 19-20) those who are close matter most!