And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
Luke 1:26-38 KJV
Happy Tuesday after Christmas Day! According to Wikipedia, today is Boxing Day, which is a secular holiday in Europe where the banks are closed. It is also known as St. Stephens’s Day on the liturgical calendar, which is the second day of Christmastide (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxing_Day).
I hope your Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebrations were wonderful. We celebrated Christmas Eve by riding through town and enjoying the Christmas lights. Then, we attended the midnight Christmas Eve service at our church. The service began at 10 pm with Christmas carols, and handbells. The church service followed. We have many gifted singers and musicians in our church. The music brought tears to my eyes.
Then, the sermon touched my heart. It was about how God uses ordinary people, like us, to do extraordinary things. Mary was a young girl. She didn’t live in a palace, but God chose her to bring His son into the world. I have often thought of how hard it must have been emotionally, and how others must have mocked and scorned her. Joseph didn’t have an easy path either. His fiancé was expecting and the baby wasn’t his. Yet, he cared for her and Jesus by stepping up to the call. I also, thought of the young boy, David, who in faith fought and killed Goliath. Jeremiah was probably under the age of 25 when he answered God’s call. He said “behold, I cannot speak; for I am a child” (Jeremiah 1:6). Yet, God gave Jeremiah the tools he needed. So, when God calls us, we also need to step up. If God only used people who didn’t have struggle in their life, why would anyone else have faith? We would probably believe we could never measure up. The world might be about keeping up with Joneses, but God is different. Remember, on Palm Sunday people were expecting a worldy King riding in on a white stallion, but Jesus rode in on a donkey.
The service ended at midnight. As is the tradition in our church, candles were passed out to everyone attending the service. After communion, the candles were lit from the aisle. Each person lit the candle of the person beside them. The Church lights were turned out. Kneeling in candlelight, everyone sang Silent Night. While the service is past my bedtime and I know what to expect, every year I am glad I attended. Attending the service with my husband was my favorite Christmas gift.
Christmas morning, after very little sleep, my husband treated our family to Christmas brunch. His parents, our children and grandson were with us. It’s always exciting watching the excitement of Christmas through the eyes of a child.
I look forward to reading about your Christmas celebrations. If you are working today, or returning gifts, be patient and kind. Be the person who lights up the room with God’s love. God bless you!