With the media full of bad news, anger, and strife almost all day long it is quite difficult to find anything good to put one’s thoughts to, so much so that it can even bring an optimist down. It is up to us to find good things and think about them. With Christmas right around the corner, we have so much to be thankful for and so much good to think about, that is if we put our minds on such things.
Many people are running around getting those last-minute gifts, preparing meals for family and friends, and trying to find the most popular item on their child’s wish list. All these things can bring us joy or bring us anxiety; it depends on where our hearts are. If we like giving and we plan a budget to do so, then we won’t have sticker shock when the credit card bill comes in. However, if you are like many Americans today and are barely getting by then the credit cards are getting maxed so that you can share in the festivities with items that will probably be forgotten in a couple of weeks.
Yes, I realize that what you just read is not too positive either but keep reading, it will get better!
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things [are] noble, whatever things [are] just, whatever things [are] pure, whatever things [are] lovely, whatever things [are] of good report, if [there is] any virtue and if [there is] anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things. - Phl 4:8
When Apostle Paul penned the words in Philippians, he was doing so to encourage the recipients to stand fast and be of the same mind. They were not to allow their challenges to divide them but instead they were to be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. -Phl 4:6
Paul said if there was anything praiseworthy to meditate on those things. Right now there is an atmosphere of expectancy, excitement, and hope because we are reminded of the birth of a Savior, Jesus Christ. We celebrate December 25th as Christ’s birthday, though it is not His actual birthday it did get put on the calendar and in America it is still there! That in itself is victory and worth celebrating. When we think of the birth of Jesus Christ we can’t help but be reminded of His returning some day.
Other things we can praise God for and meditate on, is what the salvation of the Lord has brought to our lives; now is a great time to get your testimony together and penned if you haven’t done so already. Your testimony of salvation, restoration, redemption, and healing is of the utmost importance these days. What will you tell someone who asks you why you celebrate Christmas?
I titled this message, “Ordinary People Can Do Extraordinary Feats” because I think Mary and Joseph did some extraordinary things to bring the Savior into this world.
Luke describes this amazing feat in chapters one and two. He gives the account of an angel named Gabriel who appeared to a virgin named Mary who was engaged to a man named Joseph. Gabriel said, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.” – Luke 1:30-31
After some further discussion on this subject with Mary, Gabriel describes how great this Jesus, the Son of the Highest, will be and of His kingdom never ending; Mary asked how this was possible since she was a virgin. Then Gabriel described how this would happen and her response was NO WAY I DON’T BELIEVE IT!!!! Okay, of course that wasn’t what she said. She responded to this great call with the words “For with God nothing will be impossible.” Lk 1:37
Now I don’t know about you, but I cannot honestly say I would have agreed to this. But, Mary did and yielded to God with a not my will but Yours be done kind of attitude. This kind of attitude is what it takes to do great and extraordinary things in this world when you are a seemingly ordinary person.
The story continues with Joseph being informed of his fiancés fate, and the Bible tells us that because he was a just man, he didn’t want to put Mary away publicly so he planned on doing so in secret. In other words, Joseph wasn’t going for this supernatural pregnancy right off the bat. But, an angel of the Lord came to him in a dream and explained the whole thing so Joseph agreed to stay with Mary and the journey of Jesus by faith.
There is so much that can be shared about the account of the birth of Jesus but I didn’t write this to do a sermon on the subject but rather I wrote it to encourage you not to give up on whatever incredible task is at hand in your life. If a man and a woman could believe an angel for the salvation of mankind so you and I can believe for great things to come forth from our lives.
The story of Joseph and Mary being chosen to bring Jesus Christ into this world is a story that was written on their hearts long before they ever knew it was there. There is a story that God has put in you and it is one that will reveal His grace, love, and mercy. If you will allow Him in to write His word on the tablet of your heart you are assured to live His story out.
May this Christmas bring a fresh beginning for you and your family. May traditions that are worth passing on remain steadfast and may those that need to fall away be gracefully laid to rest. If you struggle with the pain of family issues or losses during the holiday season may you find yourself enjoying new people and praying for those who have wandered away. May the Prince of Peace release His presence all over you and yours bringing you hope of a new tomorrow.
God bless you and Merry Christmas!