Lets admit it. Christmas is an insane time of year. Already full schedules make room for more events and demands. More is crammed into our boundaries, budgets, and bellies than ever before. Unless we are very careful, we can get swept away by it all and celebrate the holiday itself…or we can prayerfully choose a better way.
Speaking of choices, its pretty crazy how God choose to send His greatest gift to mankind. Why an unwed Jewish girl? Uneducated. Poor. It was scandalous. Downright offensive to some. God knew all that when He choose her. Something in Maryʼs heart caught Godʼs profound favor. Was it her child-like faith? Maybe. Maryʼs gentle and kind spirit? Another really good thing, but something else really set her apart. God knew she would cherish His will above her own.
And Bethlehem? “Nothing good ever comes from there.” On the busiest night in years?! A night which forced Mary and Joseph to seek the humblest of places- an animalʼs stable. It was loud, dirty and smelly. And it was highly favored, blessed and glorious!!! Because of JESUS….
Friends, when we have Jesus, we have all we need. Period. Mary understood. The scandal, the hardship, the isolation, the pain were all very real for Mary….but her heart was set on Jesus. Even before she looked into his precious, physical eyes- she fixed her wholehearted focus on Him. We must do the same. “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the JOY that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God…consider Him…” Heb 12:2-3a
Many of you are going thru intense, challenging times. Things may look quite ʻunhealthyʼ on the surface. Do not believe the lie that this can ruin your holiday season. Be encouraged and rejoice! Center your heart on Him and not your circumstances. This is the key to rising above and taking our place for the best Christmas ever! (Seated next to Jesus, FAR ABOVE it all Eph 1:19-22).
We love and bless you! Thank you for making it possible to be the hands and feet of Jesus in South Africa! We are so grateful and humbled by the faithful, generous support of our global family. 2016 was one of the most fruitful years yet, but we know the best is yet to come! May Jesus reign and may we stay seated next to Him this Christmas and New Year!