She sat in catechism and listened to the story she had heard every year on Jesus birthday. The story of a Savior being born to save His people from their sins. Her eyes wandered to the Christmas tree and it’s beautiful twinkling lights. As her teacher spoke her eyes gazed upward to the star on top of the tree and then down, down to the manger where the little baby lay. In that moment, it was almost as if the words of that familiar story came alive.
God came down.
Down to earth from heaven for me. I was beginning to grasp the significance of a religious story I had heard my entire childhood…
And today, I cannot help but think of another little girl. Sitting in a synagogue on the Sabbath, hearing a story of the promised birth of a Savior who would one day save her people. A story that had been told for over 4,000 years. A promise she had been taught her entire life, having no idea the significant role she would have in that promise.
We know the story. That story of Christmas. That story of Jesus. We rejoice this time of year. We thank God for sending us such a gift. But to some~ it’s just a religious aspect of Christmas. A story. Have we truly grasped it’s meaning?
Even though Mary had been taught the scriptures, (Isaiah 7:14) she did not grasp the truth of what she had been taught. When the angel Gabriel told her that she would be the one to carry the Messiah, her simple words~”How can this be?” reveal this truth. Thousands of people have read her very words and know the significant miracle of that moment, because we have read the last chapter. Mary did not and yet, she received it. Despite an unknown future, she put her faith and hope completely in God. When Gabriel explained the very scriptures she probably knew by heart, she believed the words spoken to her.
And that moment changed her entire life.
I am sure as the months went on, the significance of Who she carried so close to her heart became even more real. I am sure she wanted to tell everyone in her little town that the coming Savior was alive inside her, and I am sure that no one believed her. We know this because we have read the story. Mary and Joseph traveled alone to Bethlehem when she was 9 months pregnant. No room in the inn despite the fact that everyone (including family and friends) was required to go there to be taxed.
Maybe they rolled their eyes when she spoke of the One she carried so close to her heart.
Maybe they thought- ‘She’s taking this Jesus thing a little too far.’
Or maybe they were kinder in their reasoning. Perhaps they thought that this whole “Savior thing” might be what SHE believed, but it wasn’t for the them.
It must have been incredibly hard for Mary to hold such a Miracle inside. I am sure she wanted to tell everyone that everything they had been taught from scripture was coming true, and yet no one believed the truth in her words.
Pondering the thoughts of Mary brings me to thoughts of my own little town. It’s very easy for me to sit down and write something for hundreds to read~ ladies I will probably never meet. It’s very easy for me to hide behind a social media screen and be brave in the words that I pen; but actually stepping out of my front door and telling that story to my little hometown is something entirely different.
My town. There’s a comfort in those words. I love my tiny little town so much. And I wonder~ what do they think about the words that I write? Do they look at me and think~ ‘she’s taking this Jesus thing a little too far.’?
Or maybe they reason~’that religion thing might be okay for HER, but it’s not for ME.’
Maybe the story of Christmas Day is one they have heard in church their entire life, but for them it has never come alive in their own heart and soul. A day but not a Deliverer.
We can be taught “religion” our entire lives and still not fully grasp the truth of Christ. We can have a basic concept of church and the meaning of Christmas, but not have His new life living inside of us.
I’m not here to tell you that once you receive The Gift of Jesus life magically becomes better. Heartache has hit home for me time after time. Health issues have been prevalent. No, life doesn’t magically get better, but I know Christ is right there with me through everything. I am never alone. He has given me strength when I couldn’t stand and joy when heartache was all too prevalent. And despite an unknown future, peace and hope in Him.
A peace and hope He longs to give all of mankind, if we will put our faith in Him.
Do I take this Jesus thing too far? Perhaps some might think so, but can I tell you that in my heart of hearts, I can never take it far enough because Jesus took his love so far for me. His love reached down from glorious heaven to a sin cursed world. Without His love there would be no hope of heaven, because there would be no forgiveness of sins. His love went from heaven to earth, from a manger to the cross~
For me. For you.
That magnificent love took our sins as far as the east is from the west, farther than our finite minds can ever comprehend.
“For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”
2 Corinthians 8:9
“As far as the east is from the west, So far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”
The knowledge of this changed my entire life. But it wasn’t just the knowledge, it was the very fact that Jesus is alive and that love lives inside of me.
My heart longs for you to understand these tidings of great joy. The greatest joy. My heart longs for you to receive His gift this Christmas. Not the gift of religion, the gift of God. Forgiveness of sins, a home in heaven, a Savior with you always, through everything.
The only Gift that will change your entire life.
“Then was our mouth filled with laughter, And our tongue with singing…The LORD hath done great things for us; Whereof we are glad.”