Learning from Christmas

Editors Note: This article published on Christmas Eve 2018.

Christmas is a very special time of year, particularly for young children. Everyone gets excited about getting gifts, even if we get them for ourselves.  As Christians, we know that, no matter how nice our presents are, the greatest gift has already been given. We’re very familiar with the Christmas story. In my family, we traditionally read most of Luke 2 on Christmas morning.  However, sometimes it is possible to become so familiar with the Christmas story that we miss out on some important lessons.  Today I’ve pulled a couple important lessons from Christmas that will help all of us. Undoubtedly these are not new to most of you, but they will serve as a good reminder as we head into Christmas tomorrow.

The first lesson we can pull from Christmas is that God sometimes does things we don’t completely understand. I’d imagine Joseph was incredibly confused when Mary told him she was pregnant but she hadn’t committed adultery. I’m sure his brain could not grasp that concept.  In fact, God had to clarify it for him, by sending an angel. Mary admitted not understanding when the angel spoke to her, telling her she would have a child. Lack of understanding is a normal human response to some of the things God does.

However, just because we don’t understand something, does not mean we must immediately assume it is impossible. I cannot tell you what process God used to have Mary get pregnant without male gametes. But I believe it happened because God said it did in His Word.  The vast majority of Christians would agree with that.  Yet when God says He made everything in six literal 24 hour days, they balk. Atheists aren’t the only ones with cognitive dissonance.

Creation isn’t the only thing Christians often exhibit a strange outlook on. Oftentimes God does something in our lives and we rail and kick and scream against it, sometimes even turning our backs on God, simply because we don’t get it. Mary and Joseph didn’t get it either. But they trusted enough to do what God said, regardless.  “And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.” Luke 1:38.

The second thing we can take away from Christmas is that God is in the business of doing the impossible.  The angel even tells Mary this. “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Luke 1:37.  The whole Christmas story brims with the impossible. A star standing over the place where the baby lay? A virgin conceiving? Angels visiting people? Preposterous right? Yet we Christians accept these seeming impossibilities on faith.  So why can’t we do that with Genesis 1-11? Is it really any different?

Bringing it home, why can’t we trust God to do what seems impossible to us? There are countless things that look impossible to us. Things we could not do, even if we had the opportunity.  God can open those doors and do those things. We need to trust Him to do things that seem impossible to us. Not that He always will, nor will He do things outside His will, but we need to trust that He can.

Finally, God provides what we need, when we need it.  When Joseph and Mary got to Bethlehem the inn was full.  God could have reserved a room for them. He could have ensured they got there before the inn was full. He didn’t. They didn’t need that. God had something else prepared for them that worked just as well. Joseph and Mary undoubtedly thought they would stay at the inn. God knew they didn’t need that. He provided them a stable.

Just as God provided a stable for Joseph and Mary, often He provides things for us that we need that may not be what we expect.  It could be a job, a housing situation, or whatever. Sometimes He asks us to step out in faith and expect Him to provide what we need at the end of it. When He does, we need to follow.

Tomorrow is Christmas, but for many of us, myself included, it may not feel like it.  If that’s the case, let us remember God is in control and He can do the impossible.  Hopefully, this article was a blessing to you and have a Merry Christmas!



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