It’s only 61 days until Christmas, but who’s counting
Me! I’m one of those obnoxious people who starts blaring Christmas carols at the start of October, and I don’t mind seeing Christmas decorations already on the store shelves.
I’ve always loved the Christmas season, but this year, it means even more than any year in the past. That’s because I’ve been soaking in a Christmas-y verse for two full years like, “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” (Luke 1:45)
Each year as I pray for God to give me a key word for growth that next year, I also ask for a key Scripture. This verse contains both my 2016 word, “fulfill,” and my 2017 word, “believe.” I’m thankful for second chances, because 2016 was pretty much a failure as far as learning from my word.
“Fulfill” is a word packed with promise! I perceived it full of sweetness and light, so I was excited to see what the year would hold.
But “sweet” and “light” didn’t accurately describe the kind of year I had at all. Instead, it was tough in many areas of my life. By Christmas, instead of being thankful, I was confused and disappointed. That’s not the kind of fulfillment I had in mind at all, Lord, I thought.
A month later, God started to show me my disappointment was born from my misconceptions, not from His failure to fulfill. Take a look at Elizabeth and Mary’s story again, He whispered into my heart.
The women of the story in Luke 1:26-45 are two unlikely pregnant ladies — one too old and the other too young (and unmarried). Despite our heroines’ improbable beginnings, our good God gave them each other. They each played a key role in the Christmas story: Mary carried baby Jesus, and her cousin Elizabeth was expecting John the Baptist.
In their first moments together, Elizabeth, inspired by the power of the Holy Spirit, affirms Mary’s calling as the mother of our Savior, finishing with this exclamation, “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” (Luke 1:45, NIV, emphasis added).
Mary was blessed because she believed … with a belief fastened to the right foundation.
Her belief wasn’t built on her circumstances. It was based on the Baby. Her belief wasn’t focused on a specific outcome (little did she know the pain she’d endure as she followed her Son to the cross). It was founded on the Overcomer.
In looking at Mary’s story through fresh eyes, I finally saw the truth God’s been trying to teach me for two long years:
Belief is confident resting.
Mary’s belief led to confidently resting in her calling to be the mother of our Savior. Just like the order of the words in our key verse today, fulfillment follows belief.
What are His promises for us that we can confidently rest in, even when our outcomes are unsure and our circumstances shaky? They’re the words inspired by the Holy Spirit recorded in Scripture:
“Never will I leave you;never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5b, NIV)
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3b, NIV)
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9b, NIV)
These are just some of the promises God always fulfills. So, when we get the unlikely phone call, when plans fail, when outcomes shift, when healing is delayed and when the dreams in our hearts shatter, we can confidently rest in God’s truth.
Belief is a blessing, but only when we believe in the right things. Only when our belief is based on God’s sure promises.
It’s just two months until we celebrate the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promises — Jesus. So, dust off your decorations, and turn up the music. I believe this is going to be the best Christmas yet!
Lord, help me believe in Jesus above all else. My hope is in Him! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
John 12:46, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” (NIV)
It’s never too early to stock up on books for Christmas devotions. Liz Curtis Higgs’ book, The Women of Christmas, digs deeper into the stories of Mary and Elizabeth. Purchase one today to prepare your heart!
Visit Amy Carroll’s blog today for a free printable download reminding us “Belief Is Confident Resting.”
REFECT AND RESPOND:
Make a list of disappointments from the past year which have shaken your faith. (I know this can be painful, but God already knows how you feel. Go ahead and share with Him.)
Spend time with God turning your list over to His loving care, reading aloud the promises from Scripture above, resting in His love.
© 2017 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.