I love this time of year. Now that I’m in Alaska, Christmastime seems more complete because I get to enjoy a white Christmas :-).
So, yeah, I know that’s not the best part of Christmas. It’s just icing on the cake. This year in preparation for Christmas, I love that we are reading select passages about Jesus’ birth. The first chapter of Luke recounts the story of two individuals who meet face to face with an angel of the Lord. They both encounter the same angel. They both are told outstanding news about an upcoming, seemingly impossible birth. Yet, they react very differently. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
First, Zechariah, the soon-to-be father of John the Baptist. He meets Gabriel in the temple as he is carrying out his priestly duties.
“And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him.” ~Luke 1:12.
Gabriel tells Zechariah not to fear and shares the wonderful news that he is to be a father. Yet Zechariah’s fear consumes him, making him unable to see beyond his old age and barren wife.
Second, Mary, the soon-to-be mother of Jesus. Gabriel approaches Mary and declares,
“Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you! But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.” ~Luke 1:29
She too is told not to be afraid as Gabriel shares the good news of Jesus’ birth. But Mary, instead of looking at the impossibility of the circumstance, puts her fears aside and accepts his prophecy.
I doubt you will receive any news like this during the Christmas season – Jesus was born as a baby only once. You might, however, come across news that will stop you in your tracks, much like Zechariah and Mary. How will you handle the news? Will you dwell in your fears, unable to get beyond your circumstances? Or will you give your fears back to God and trust him to work despite your circumstances?
I must admit, I am more likely to respond like Zechariah. You? It’s easier to sit in my fear. After all, God doesn’t always work the way we want him to. Sometimes, he calls us to walk down paths we never knew were possible. But God is for us, not against us. He loves us more than we can imagine and that is why he sent his only begotten Son. As we gear up for Christmas, cast your fears on the God with whom nothing is impossible.