God's Promise... Delivered

UNLIMI†ED Advent - 4th Sunday

Imagine Mary's thoughts on this night!

Over the past weeks of Advent we have considered the Christmas story from the persepctive of Mary.

This week she delivers Jesus (Yeshua) the promised Messiah. Consider all that she must have been thinking as God's Promise is delivered but it was not as everyone assumed.

Luke 2:7-20 The Message (MSG)

6-7 While they were there [in Bethlehem], the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.

An Event for EVERYONE

8-12 There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”

13-14 At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises:

Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.

15-18 As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.

19-20 Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!

The Season of Advent is about promises & hopeful expectation despite life's challenges difficulties. How is this hope and joy possible? Faith moments, or those times when you reflect and remember the moments of life where God met you and "you knew that you knew" only God could have worked that out.

Poet Cesare Pavese wrote, "We do not remember days; we remember moments."

I find this to be true in my life. Life is a journey of moments toward a destination of hope delivered by Jesus for all humanity. We are able to "look back" as we travel through life; we remember childhood Christmases of joy and hardship; we rememer friends that we lost touch with or grew apart from; we remember our loved ones who will not be at our gatherings again this year. Some rememberances are so sweet; some are heartbreakingly difficult. All humanity has this in common.

Can you just imagine all the moments Mary must have been reliving that night? Luke writes and tells us in verse 19 above that "Mary kept these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself."

Mary saw and experienced things that noone else had before or will ever again. Her faith was seems to be the source of her being chosen as scripture does not directly speak to the requirements for being the mother of the Messiah. She was only a child, maybe 13-15 years old.

Mary caught a glimpse that night Gabriel visited her some 9 months ago and she would never be the same!

Just a glimpse of God that night and she overlooked the memories of the poor travel arrangements, the lack of planning, the incessant not knowing what was coming next on the journey, the constant need to pray and still only finding a meager shelter shared with visitng animals, mules, horses, camels, splinters, and a manager used to feed these farm animals and stray dogs from time to time.

Once Jesus arrived, the promise from God that this was the promised Messiah overcame all obstacles. Joseph's snoring from the long arduous journey, then the shephards coming and going on and on about the angels they had seen. If I was Mary, I probably would not be able to sleep considering what else lay ahead. Could you?

Maybe just before dawn as everything began to calm down and go quiet she began to consider her tapestry of memories held deep within. Perhaps the shimmering, radiant light that Gabriel stood in as she told her she was chosen; the look on Elizabeth's face as she prophesied the promise Mary came to tell her of; the busyness of packing for a trip to appease the government's taxes; the many doors knocked on and noone had room, and the tiny hands and soft skin of the newborn King.

I do not know about Mary but I do know I have wept and smiled, sometimes at the same time, as I recalled and remembered how good God has been to me. My own personal emotional orchestra in my heart, "hidden deep within," like Mary's to remind me of the promise, the filled prophesises, the hope-filled joy and amazing love God has shown to me in my journey. Perhaps this is where you are today?

As we each travel our unique journeys following Jesus, we all can reflect and remember, like Mary, of the memories where Jesus has always been there and all that He has done for us as we seek to continue following him!

In your rememberances, always remember...

"Truly, he taught us, to love one another...

His law is love and His Gospel is Peace."

for all who believe!

Merry Christmas from our UNLIMI†ED family to you and yours!


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