So this is my third past about what makes Christmas so wondrous. You can read the first post here, and the second post here. But today my focus is going to be on Zechariah (The husband of Elizabeth, and father of John the baptist who would “prepare the way of the Lord”), Mary, and Joseph, and about how the impossible became reality. I am very attuned to the fact that what happened years ago, still effects and encourages us today. And I am so thankful for His word that can remind us that God is good, and faithful, and true.
Another thing that has stuck out to me that makes Jesus coming to earth so wondrous is that the promise was fulfilled by unexpected people, and He made impossible situations reality.
The Christmas Story Is Full Of Ways That God Made The Impossible Become Reality
Zechariah and Elizabeth wanted a child. They were blameless and upright, and observed all of God’s commands. Even so, they were without a child, and too old to conceive. I wonder if they remembered the story of Abraham and Sarah at this time?
Mary, a young girl, who was to be married to Joseph and a virgin.
Both very different circumstances: One looking back at a life that didn’t include a child to bring them favor. The other planning her future, probably with the hope of one day having a child of her own…after she was married.
Even in his old age, it was apparent by the angels words that Zechariah was still praying for a child. The first words the angel said were “Do not be afraid, your prayer has been heard.” One of the reasons for that prayer was because of the disgrace Elizabeth was probably experiencing due to childlessness. A part from Zechariah’s own struggles with this, seeing his wife struggle must have been hard for him to witness.
Then there was hope… the news of a child, a son, they would call John.
We see here that, God used his personal desires, for His greater purpose. This promised son, John, wouldn’t just remove Elizabeth’s disgrace among people, and be a delight to them, he would also be great in the sight of the Lord, and he would make ready a people ready for the Lord.
God will use your personal desires for His greater purpose too. But how often do we stand in disbelief like Zechariah, who lost his voice because he didn’t believe?
Let’s Look At Mary…
Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. Luke 1: 30-31
Mary’s life would be harder because of the angel’s news to her. She had to have known that. But that didn’t seem to be a thought for her. She knew she was blessed.
Unlike Zechariah she didn’t respond in disbelief. Mary stood in awe, and she responded to what she had been told with a song of praise (Luke 1:47-55). Her soul magnified the Lord. She didn’t lose her voice, she used her voice to declare God’s faithfulness.
When we look at Zechariah and Mary’s responses to the angel’s news, we need to be reminded to not lose our voice by responding to God in disbelief instead of awe.
Don’t lose your voice by responding to God with disbelief instead of awe and wonder.
There is so much more to say about Mary, and we will look at her more in depth next week, but now let us take a look at Joseph for a minute. He is just as a part of the story as Zechariah, Elizabeth, and Mary.
You can find his encounter with the angel in Matthew 1:18-25. He would have the blessed gift of embracing Mary with love as she walked out God’s incredible call on her life. God is so good that He didn’t leave Mary without Joseph, without someone who wouldn’t leave her side, and care for her, on what was surely a blessed but difficult road to walk.
At first when the angel comes to Joseph it seemed like he was only considering 2 options following the news that Mary was pregnant.
The first option was to stay faithful to the law and have her stoned, which was disgraceful to her publicly. It seemed like in their day, people seemed to want to gravitate to that option, and make a public display of their sin. The second option was to divorce her quietly. The first didn’t even seem to be an option for him
But with God…
We see that with God though, there are more options that we realize, and we see that perfectly here.
There is no law against grace, when God’s law is love. And that is what Joseph displayed to Mary. Love. The love that Jesus would command of His followers, and it was by that love in which the world would know who His disciples were.
Sometimes it can be easy to feel like Joseph felt. What situations are ahead of you that seem to have limited options, and none of the limited options really seem right?
With God, there will always be another way, because His ways are greater than ours. Let us never settle for less that His way, and may we always seek Him until we are confident in His way.
My prayer for you all this week, is that when you face times when you think “How?”, you will consider that question, not in unbelief, but awe, and anticipation of how God will work. And that you remember that there is no law against grace.