Sunday, November 25, 2012

God's Christmas Giftwrap

     The angel Gabriel explained it to a young woman this way: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:35 NASB). The time had finally come when the Messiah would empty Himself of the form of God and be made in the likeness of men. (See Philippians 2:5-8 NASB)

     This young woman had been carefully selected for this day, but how?  Some reqirements had been laid out in hundreds of years of prophecy.  Messiah's earth-parents had to be descendants of King David, for instance.  But, more importantly, they had to have hearts and character that would nurture and train this Child to fulfill a destiny like no other. 

     The writer of Hebrews says, "Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered." (Hebrews 5:8 NASB) Now I have suffered some things in my life, and my natural bent was to learn things besides obedience, like cynicism, distrust, resentment and self-pity to name a few. I grew up in an atmosphere that nurtured such things, and my fleshly nature went right along in that direction. But the first One to get through human life sinless needed a different upbringing.  He needed a teacher and example in His first, formative years who had a heart that trusted Father God absolutely.

     I recently heard a radio interview with a novelist who had written about Jesus' mother, Mary. He had depicted Mary in her later years as a bitter, disappoiinted woman who felt that the suffering He had endured was just "not worth it". But Father God knew her heart before Jesus was ever concieved. She knew what this pregnancy could cost her personally in her time and culture. She knew how enormous the responsibility for this baby would be.  And God had found the perfect wrapping for the gift of His Messiah.  He had found the young woman who would say, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word." (Luke 1:38 NASB)