I have had this subject lying heavy on my heart for about a week now. So what I am going to ask is for you, as my readers, to forgive me if I do not do this subject justice. I have approached this topic prayerfully and with hopes that God will work with me to use the right words for such an important subject. This is one of the biggest subjects I have ever written on.
I am a religion minor and this past semester I took one of the most faith enriching and challenging religion courses ever. I took a class called Pauline Epistles, which deals with all the letters of the apostle Paul. Through this class my heart, mind, and soul have been impacted. I know this may sound silly but I have never really been close to Jesus, I have loved, believed, and worshiped Jesus from afar but through Paul’s letters I have become close personally to Jesus. I have had a strong relationship to God, yes they are the same, but the concept of Jesus has always been difficult for me, so I often chose to just believe from afar rather than struggle to gain a sincere relationship with him. But throughout this past semester Jesus has become more real and human to me.
Last week I was doing my devotional for the day, and I accidentally read John 19 rather than John 20. If you turn in your Bible you will see that John 19 is the account of Jesus’ crucifixion and death. I have never seen the Passion of the Christ, and truthfully I do not want to, I know Jesus suffered greatly but I am very sensitive and I do not think I could handle watching this movie. When I sat down and read this account of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, I cried. And when I reread it a few days later I sat in my mom’s crafting room I cried again. I was so moved by Jesus sacrifice, I realized just how huge it really was. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice, for people who are not worthy, I am not worthy of this incredible love. We are not worthy, but God loved us enough to send his ONLY son. Just please take a moment and let that sink in. Jesus died on a cross to save us, to save the world.
Christmas is the time we celebrate Jesus’ birth, you might be wondering why I am choosing to talk about Jesus’ death during this time. But how can we truly appreciate this child’s birth if we do not appreciate his death. Now I am going to ask you to think of something else that is amazing–Jesus, the one who died for us and freed us from sin, he came into this world, just as you and I did. A child. Jesus was a child, he was a baby who was laid in a manger in a barn! The King of Kings was once a small and defenseless child. And this baby grew up and changed all of our fates! We are set free because of this child! Now there is another aspect of this wonderful news I want to talk about, this child’s mother.
If you read the account of Jesus’ death in John 19, you will read about women who were present at the time of his death. My heart was moved, I was touched by something and someone else along with our wonderful Savior. John 19:25 says: “…Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.” Read it too quickly and you miss it, “standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother….” His mother. (The other accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion mention multiple Mary’s and it is debated whether they are referring to his mother or someone else.) Now this woman and her faith touched my heart, her faithfulness blew away my mind. This woman sat and watched her son, that she had given birth to, raised and loved, die to save the world. She had to have an incredible amount of faith to allow this to happen, and believe that all would be okay.
Mary was a child, by today’s standards, when she was visited by the angel Gabriel who told her that she would give birth to the Son of the Most High, as a virgin. She had been chosen by God to give birth to the savior. Imagine that. The angel ends the announcement with, “For nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). Mary accepts this, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). This woman was brave and above all a faithful servant to God, in Luke 1:46-55 Mary’s Song of Praise is documented where she gives praise and worships the God she trusts and loves. It also took the faith of her fiance, Joseph, to believe that she truly was carrying the Son of God. These loving and faithful parents brought into the world our Savior.
But Mary becomes so human and real when in Luke 2 the wise men come to see Jesus and report of the praise the angels had sung of God and this child. Scripture says, “But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart,” just as any proud momma would do. This woman chose to put her faith in God: with Jesus’ miraculous birth and his tragic death–through it all hoping, loving, and believing that her son would save humanity.
I have been thinking about this woman and child for a little while now. And I encourage you to do the same. Christmas is a wonderful time of year, but often we overlook the reason for this season. Remember why Jesus was born;meditate, ponder, and pray over this reason. Jesus was born into the world a baby, was born into the world to be our savior.
Luke 2: 10-14:
“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see–I am bringing you the good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
May your holiday season be filled with love, joy, and peace. May the Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you All.