2020-Christmas During Troubled Times

This year we are living in more troubled times than previous years. With all that we see that is happening in our world, we begin to think that times have never been this bad. There have been times when I looked at my surrounding circumstances rather than looking to my Lord. We should not allow our circumstances to get us down or react in a wrong way. Rather than getting upset with our circumstances, we should understand that we serve a powerful and sovereign God, who loves us and wants the best for our lives no matter what is going on around us.

Let’s consider the world in which Mary lived. At the time of Jesus’ birth, both Roman overseers and Jewish leaders exercised tyrannical control over the people.

Luke 1:26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, Although Mary had reasons to be fearful and unhappy, her focus was not on her circumstances, but she focused on praising the Lord.

She could have been stoned to death for being engaged to be married…then showing up pregnant with someone else’s child. She could have also been charged with blasphemy for saying that the child was conceived of the Holy Ghost.

Luke 1:46 Mary says: My soul doth magnify the Lord. How could she say this? Her heart must have been saturated with God’s Word. She must have known many Old Testament verses such as Psalms 34:3 O magnify the LORD with me and let us exalt his name together.

Her spirit rejoiced in God her Saviour…her words showed her whole soul was filled with God’s influence. In Luke 1:48, we see Mary’s humility: For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: Mary’s attitude was complete surrender. Instead of saying, “How am I going to handle this pregnancy?” She had a God-centered focus”

C.S. Lewis: “There are two kinds of people, those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then have it your way.'”

We see Mary’s surrender in Luke 1:38 Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to Thy Word. She was saying “Lord, I am the Your servant…whatever Your will, I will accept. I’m not worthy of the honor You are bestowing on me…I don’t deserve it… But I’m thankful, and I rejoice in it.

This should be our prayer today. Lord, Whatever Your will…I am Your servant. I give myself for Your purposes. Here’s my body…I want to be Your instrument. Use me in whatever way You want in order that Your will and your purposes can be fulfilled on this earth.”

We sing…All to Jesus, I surrender, All to Him I freely give; I surrender all. It’s one thing to sing those words, but another thing to fully surrender to choices in life.

It’s very difficult for most of us to give the Lord our full surrender. We are afraid that if we surrender everything to God, it might mean that we might have to surrender our health, our possessions, our family, our reputation, our careers, and even our rights.

Think of Mary…she surrendered everything…she even surrendered her fear. Her full surrender forced her to give up her reputation…. the fear of what others thought of her.

We all face different fears. During this pandemic, many fear that God will not provide and protect them. They are fearful about being faithful to God in their stewardship. They fear that if they give their tithe and faith promise offerings, they won’t have enough left for themselves.

What a great promise we see in Psalm 9:10. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee. Those who know God’s name and put their trust in Him and His character, they will be the ones who will be able to trust Him.

After Mary worshiped the Lord, she experienced joy. It was surrender, praise, and then joy! Luke 1:47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. After she surrendered…this led her to worship…then her worship led to her joy. Worship and joy are inseparable.

We should be telling others what God has done for us. Sometimes we get so focused on our problems, our pressures, and our burdens that we fail to magnify the Lord and rejoice in our Savior for the great things He has done for us.

Praise the Lord…He is faithful. We must constantly remind each other of God’s promises and His faithfulness. We should be telling others what God has done for us in the past and reminding ourselves every day of that promise.

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, let’s also celebrate God’s faithfulness. He is a covenant-keeping God. There is coming a day when He will right all the wrongs we see around us. He will bring down the proud who are against Him and lift up the humble.

As we focus on who He is and what He has done, let us be like Mary and say: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

While this pandemic is “frightening” and “frustrating”, let us rejoice over the greatest birth to ever occur on the earth!