December 23, 2014
Read Luke 1:26-38.
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph,of the house of David…. Luke 1:26-27A
Our Nativity scene has a shelter and a manger. Now it’s time to start adding the figures. My Nativity figures have a special meaning for me because my dad hand painted each of them a few years before he left us to go to his eternal home. He took great care painting the faces of baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men and the angel. Now, because of his faith in Jesus Christ his Savior, Dad has spent 22 years looking at those same glorious faces in his heavenly home.
As we begin placing the figures into the Nativity scene let’s take some time to examine each one. It is interesting that a shelter and manger stand ready in Bethlehem for that special night. But look as hard as you want, you can’t find the virgin mother in that little town just south of Jerusalem. You have to travel 70 miles north to the region of Galilee and to a town called Nazareth. That’s where a young virgin lives. That’s where God sends His angel Gabriel.
Look closely at the virgin and the clothes she wears. It is obvious this young woman has no claims to fame. Her family is not wealthy, powerful, or influential. Her betrothed husband is a carpenter who has no claim to fame either except, perhaps, that both he and his virgin wife are descendants of King David. God could have selected any virgin girl to be the mother of His Son, but He specifically chose this young woman.
You and I are also unlikely people God has chosen. So often we are self-absorbed and concerned about all the wrong things-problems that in the end don’t pile up to a hill of beans. These days before Christmas we usually focus on the least significant things, and we display our irritation and impatience to our families, co-workers, and everyone we encounter who is standing in our way. Now is the time to slow down and follow the story of our Savior’s birth.
The angel explains to Mary that she will be the mother of God’s Son through the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit. He will be a holy Child, whose Father is God. Being human He will be able to suffer and die in our place. And being God’s Son, He will be able to win salvation for all people by His suffering and death on the cross, and He will be able to stomp death into the dust.
This Christmas we would do well to learn from Mary’s humility and simple trust. “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word. …” (Luke 1:38a). When we approach Christmas with that same trusting response, we will enjoy a more profound and joyous celebration of our Savior’s birth.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for choosing an unknown virgin to be the mother of Your Son. Give me true humility that I may live as Your child and live with You in Your heavenly home forever. I pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries
By Reverend Wayne Palmer