Hope for All: A Christmas Story (Part 1)
Good morning from Managua, Nicaragua!
Now that Thanksgiving has passed, it is official – we are in the Christmas season. As I thought about what to write about this Christmas season, a thought came to my head – Jesus came to this world for all of us. This can be an easy thing to forget at times. We can start to think, “If God came to this world, he probably came for the “important people” so he didn’t come for me”. Living in Nicaragua, in the midst of so much poverty, it would be easy to think that God forgot about this part of the world. However, this is not at all true. As we move towards Christmas, I want to look at a few examples from the Christmas story that shows that Jesus came as much for people like you and me as he did for those seen as more important by the world.
She was a simple young woman living in Nazareth, a rather unimportant town at the time. She was pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a carpenter in the town. The story tells us she was a virgin and that she was committed to following God. The truth is she was a pretty normal person who more than likely never imagined having a great impact in the world. However, God has a different plan for this young woman named Mary. “In the sixth month, 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 said, ‘Greeting, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.'” (Luke 1:26-28, NIV 1984) The angel then tells Mary not to be afraid and explains that, despite being a virgin, she is going to give birth to God’s son who will become the savior of the world. The angel tells her to name him Jesus. After the angel explains how this is all possible Mary offers her response- “‘I am the Lord’s servant.’ Mary answered. ‘May it he to me as you have said.'”
In stating her obedience to God, Mary went from being a simple girl living in an unimportant town to being a key part of God’s plan to save the world. As the story goes, Mary became pregnant and gave birth to Jesus in Bethlehem. As the angel had said, Jesus, the Son of God, went on to change the world and to ultimately give his life on a cross for our sins. God changed Mary’s life on earth and for eternity. Not only that, he used Mary to change many lives and the world through her willingness to be a part of God’s redemption story. God came for Mary, an ordinary person who God used for the extraordinary. This is what Christmas is about.
Like Mary, Jesus came for us, ordinary people. Also like Mary, God can change our lives and use us to change the lives of others. Christmas is a story of hope, not just for the “important people” but for all. This Christmas I hope you have a chance to reflect on the story of Mary and how God can change and use your life like he did hers. Mary wasn’t the only normal person who played an important role in the Christmas Story. Check back in next week to meet a few more.
– James Belt