“Don’t be Afraid, Mary”

Luke 1:30-31, 34-35

30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.

34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”

35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 

Matthew 1:18-21

18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.

20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

An angel did not appear to me while I was engaged, but I have heard the Holy Spirit speak a few promises about our lives together since our marriage took place. Unfortunately, I haven’t always exercised patience and self-control in waiting for that information to be communicated to my husband!

I wonder if Mary had a conversation with Joseph after she heard God’s promise from Gabriel:IMG_1067.JPG

“Joseph, I’m pregnant!”

(silence)

“The Holy Spirit did it.”

“What the what?!?”

“I’m going to give birth to the Son of God.”

“Um…what?!?”

“Joseph- its true! An angel told me…don’t you believe me?”

“Mary, that’s impossible.”

I wonder if Mary felt abandoned and afraid for her future. I wonder if Joseph felt angry and afraid of the scandal. Regardless, being a good man, Joseph broke the engagement quickly and went home. Then, an angel appeared to him in a dream and confirmed the same promise Mary heard – with a few more details. He was to take her as his wife, and name the child she carried, Jesus.

  • Mary heard from God.
  • Joseph heard from God.
  • They obeyed.
  • God fulfilled His promise.

Why don’t I realize that God will do the same for me?

I am afraid.

I don’t trust God, I trust in my current circumstances.

I don’t believe God, I believe the lie of the enemy that says; “it’s impossible.”

I don’t fear God, I fear my husband not hearing and obeying (how self-righteous am I?)

But….. I don’t have to be afraid!

  • I can choose to surrender my soul (mind, will & emotions) to my Father in Heaven.
  • I can choose to trust Him.
  • I can choose to fear Him alone.
  • I can choose to believe in Him.
  • I can choose to declare; “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”

And that obedience will give birth to the miraculous:

  • I will know that HE loves me.
  • I will know that HE is trustworthy.
  • I will know that HE is faithful.
  • I will know that HE will cause all things to work together for good.
  • I will know that HE will fulfill His promises for our marriage.

Santa, St. Nick, Elf on the Shelf….baby Jesus

Proverbs 22:6

Bring up a child by teaching him the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn away from it.

IMG_4848Every Christmas season I hear and read many passionate parents give their opinions- and judgments about why they- and others should celebrate Santa, St. Nick….baby Jesus.

IMG_4849Many mom’s and dad’s follow the traditions set forth by their parents in order that they can re-live their childhood, and create the same magical memories for their little ones. Others follow their friends or holiday “experts” advice in order to do it all. They spend countless hours decorating, shopping, baking, wrapping, screaming, cussing and drinking too much spiked eggnog after the tree and the demands of the holiday come come crashing down around them on Christmas Eve.

But I wonder…in the hustle and bustle, do we ever stop and ask “why?”

Why do we celebrate the way we do?

Why do we celebrate Santa?

Why do we adopt an Elf on the Shelf?

Why do we go into debt in order to buy all these gifts?

Why do we praise St. Nick?

Why do we celebrate baby Jesus?

Why do we think make-believe is more magical, more fun than reality?

Regardless of our reasons for the answers to these questions, the greater question- the only one that truly matters for all eternity is this:

“God, what do you want my family to celebrate? What do you want me to teach our children during this season?”

John 16:13

13 The Holy Spirit is coming. He will lead you into all truth. He will not speak His Own words. He will speak what He hears. He will tell you of things to come.

Once we’re willing to ask the King of kings – and obey His answer, we can rest….and enjoy this holiday season, knowing that our kids will not turn away from His teaching when they are older.