“‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled.’ Then the angel left her.” Luke 1:38 (NIV)
Once the stores begin to deck their aisles with boughs of holly and everything merry and bright, it seems as though the Christmas season explodes like confetti all over everything.
Everywhere we look is Christmas — in the stores, in our homes, on Pinterest, on Instagram and especially on our calendars.
We may feel pressured to say “yes” often as we prepare for the season and its many expectations. We’re expected to say “yes” to buying gifts and charging our credit cards. We’re expected to say “yes” to extra shifts at work to cover the cost of said gifts. Yes to Christmas parties. Yes to family gatherings we’re expected to help coordinate. Yes to school functions, yes to cookie-making, yes to Christmas tree-cutting excursions and even matching family pajamas like we see in holiday TV specials.
I personally am a very jolly “yes” girl when it comes to the holidays and making fun memories. But these expectations can be unrealistic, especially if the holidays are difficult for us mentally, financially or emotionally. Sometimes, late at night, when I’ve collapsed into bed after a full day of festive “yes” activities, I can’t help but wonder if I’ve lost sight of the one yes that matters most. The yes that ushered in the first Christmas ever.
In the New Testament book of Luke, we find ourselves in the small town of Nazareth, where a young woman named Mary lived. Mary was pledged to be married but was not married yet — a virgin. She was visited by the angel Gabriel, who told her she would be with child … but not just any child — the long-awaited Son of the Most High.
Now, aside from a healthy dose of shock and a few reasonable logistical questions, Mary immediately responded: “I am the Lord’s servant … May your word to me be fulfilled” (Luke 1:38a-b).
She said yes! But this was not an easy yes that guaranteed comfort and predictability for Mary.
This was a yes that guaranteed a potential scandal surrounding the details of her pregnancy. A yes that required a very pregnant Mary to ride on the back of a donkey all the way from Nazareth to Bethlehem — roughly 70 miles! A yes that meant Mary would give birth in surroundings far less than ideal. A yes that superseded every other demand or request in her life at the time.
Mary remained focused on the miracle at hand, and through her faithful, obedient yes, our Savior was born into the world.
The truth is, saying “yes” to festive activities isn’t the problem. Full calendars are not a sin. The problem is how we then allow these activities to overshadow and come before our saying “yes” to the Lord.
We need to remember the miracle in the manger is not just a nice story, serving to inspire nativity scenes on coffee tables far and wide. The miracle in the manger then is the reason we can be redeemed today.
Jesus’ birth marked the beginning of the Lord’s rescue plan for us all. A plan that meant Jesus would eventually die on a cross for our sins, trading His blameless life for our broken souls. He didn’t have to, but He chose to so that we might know the grace of His forgiveness and one day have eternal life with Him. Truly a gift beyond measure!
But in order to receive this gift, we must first say “yes” to Jesus as our Lord and Savior. And then, in faithful obedience, we continue to say “yes” to Him every day.
Friends, I don’t know where your heart is this Christmas season. Perhaps, like me, you, too, have felt a convicting tug on your soul as all the to-dos and expectations of the season have begun to pile up. If so, fear not. Just as Mary did so many years ago, we can refocus our hearts on the miracle at hand.
The festive parties will come and go, and leftover Christmas cookies will start to get stale. But the saving Truth of our Lord and Savior will remain and will always be worthy of our first yes.
Heavenly Father, we praise You! Keep our hearts in line with Yours this holiday season. Convict us should we begin to go astray, and renew our wonder as we reflect upon the true miracle of Christmas. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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Los devocionales Aliento para el día de hoy están disponibles en español! Encouragement for Today devotions are translated to Spanish with the help of our Spanish volunteer team. We also offer a selection of our books and Online Bible Studies in Spanish. If you or a friend would benefit from these resources, please visit our Spanish devotions page. Thank you for doing your part in spreading the Truth of God’s Word!
Connect with today’s devotion writer, Corrie Gerbatz, on her website, Facebook or Instagram.
FOR DEEPER STUDY
Isaiah 9:6, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (NIV)
Prayerfully consider your priorities this season. What festive to-dos or expectations have begun to overcrowd your heart, and how can you make Jesus your number-one priority?
We’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments.
© 2021 by Corrie Gerbatz. All rights reserved.
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