God’s Unfolding Plan
The unfolding of the greatest story ever told… a true story… a story of God’s gracious plan of redemption… that started with Adam, and expanded to Abraham, and Moses, and David, and finally… Jesus. Emmanuel, God with us. The Word made flesh who gives us, grace upon grace already given. The promised Messiah.
Of course, Luke makes it clear what an unusual and exceptional event Jesus’ birth was.
Usually in the Bible angels are not named. Luke could’ve simply said, “an angel came to Mary.” But he didn’t. He gives us the name of the angel, Gabriel… one of the most famous of all the angels... which stresses the point - this was an exceptional event.
He also goes so far as to identify the small towns in Galilee called Nazareth, and Bethlehem. If you were to tell someone from another state, that you’re from West Point, or Lanett, or Valley, or LaGrange, they may ask, “where’s that?” And the same was true for Nazareth, and Bethlehem. They were just small, insignificant places at the time, that didn’t cross most people’s minds very often.
Of course, when the birth of Jesus was first foretold Mary wasn’t initially named. She’s simply called, “a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph.” A verse later, kinda like a footnote, she’s named - which reminds us of the unusual nature of this story, too.
Mary’s commonness denotes our own. A young woman who was to be the mother of our Lord and Savior… she was no princess, nor queen. In fact, she had no social standing at all. If you want to know what Mary was like... just look around at practically any teenage girl you know today. That’s what Mary was like.
Yet, Gabriel, the one whom tradition says, will blow the trumpet at the last day, visited her. Bestowing the news of God‘s favor, and blessing upon her.
Of course, Gabriel’s visit was to announce a much grander reality. God himself, no mere angel... but God in the flesh, was coming! The Divine, and Holy, and Perfect was manifesting Himself to humanity. NOT just to kings, and prophets, or the rich and powerful (although He certainly came to save them, too). But to a simple, ordinary girl, engaged to a man who worked for a living... a carpenter. To the people of a small town in Galilee. An announcement… that would literally change the world.
You see that’s what Christmas is all about. Heaven coming down to us! The only begotten, Son of God, the Prince of all creation, Isaiah’s Prince of peace… Was coming to take human flesh. Not with chariots of war… Nor in clouds descending from glory. He was coming to earth as a baby… in the most unremarkable circumstances… bringing the most extraordinary hope.
But then that’s what God does, right? God comes to ordinary, common, every day people just like you and me. He brings the favor, the grace, the peace, the joy of God to all of us. It’s no wonder Mary would sing, “Oh, magnify the Lord!”
Jesus was born for people like us. Through the Holy Spirit, his grace and love are born anew in our hearts. Of course, after Mary’s conversation with the angel… She said, “here I am… The servant of the Lord… Let it be with me, according to your word.” She humbled herself to God’s will… as unbelievable as it was. And you and I are called to do no less. May we humble ourselves before the Lord. May his love and grace and joy be born in you in our hearts this Christmas.
Has it ever dawned on you... that in a very real way... like Mary… We carry Christ, too? We’re called to carry Christ into the brokeness of our world. Through acts of love, charity, faithfulness… as we worship, and as we serve together… shouting from the rooftops, telling it on the mountain, that Jesus Christ is Lord! He’s here… God’s unfolding plan of salvation is available to every single person that we know.
And you and I are now part of that story! Share the good news. Be the good news.