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Christmas Reading 4: God keeps His promises even when we are afraid

This is the fourth in a set of six readings I prepared for a Christmas Eve service in 2013. I will be posting one each week until Christmas. Feel free to use them for family devotions, personal enjoyment, or for any future Christmas events of your own.

God keeps His promises even when we are afraid.

Christmas wasn’t easy. Mary was “greatly troubled,” Jerusalem was “disturbed,” Joseph was “afraid”, and the shepherds were “sore afraid.” It’s ok if the story God is writing in our lives doesn’t always feel good. It’s ok if it hurts. It’s ok if you get scared. God has never stopped keeping His promises because we got scared!

There were a lot of things Mary wasn’t told. Gabriel didn’t tell her whether she’d still get to marry Joseph. He didn’t tell her whether she’d be a single mother for the rest of her life. He just told her she’d have a baby through the power of the Holy Spirit, that He would sit on David’s throne and have an everlasting kingdom, and she should name Him Jesus. And Mary said OK. That was enough. “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said.” And then the angel left her. She didn’t get to find out any more.

But God took care of Mary’s needs. She was right to trust Him. That angel “just happened” to mention that Elizabeth, her relative, was having a miraculous baby right now too. That was like God whispering, “I will tell you of at least one person who will believe you. I will always provide what you need, even when you don’t know who to tell or where to go. Here’s the first step.” So as soon as that angel vanished into thin air, Mary went to Elizabeth’s house as fast as she could.

And Elizabeth didn’t throw stones. She didn’t kick her out of the house. She didn’t say, “What do you mean, you’re pregnant? What do you mean, you saw an angel? What do you mean it’s from the Holy Spirit? What do you mean, you’re carrying the Son of God?” Mary didn’t even have to tell her what had happened, she didn’t even have to be able to put it into words. God had already told Elizabeth for her. Elizabeth came bursting out of the house yelling “Blessed are you among women! Blessed is the child you will bear!” Her face filled with awe as she added, “And why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord would come to me?” Her eyes sparkled with laughter as she gasped, “As soon as I heard your greeting, the baby within me leaped for joy!” She caught Mary up in her arms and whispered, “Blessed is she who has believed, for what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.”

Then Mary’s heart overflowed with praise and she poured her whole heart out into Elizabeth’s ears, because God had provided a person who would understand. God knows when we need a person who will understand what He has done in our lives. It was just one more sign that God had planned it all. As He moved the cosmic machinery to keep for all the world the promise He’d made throughout all the ages, He cared about the needs of the heart of the young woman caught up in His plan.

 

God keeps His promises even after we have failed.

God keeps His promises even when they take a long time.  

God keeps His promises even when they are attacked by Satan.

God keeps His promises even when we are afraid.

God keeps His promises even after our hearts shut down.

The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will accomplish this.

Christmas comes because God wants it more than you do.

 

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