Greetings to you on behalf of everyone at the church. It's Christmas time again! Although most people are stressed out by what gift is appropriate for which relative, we Christians already have received the greatest gift the world has ever known: God's only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. None other gift holds the power God's gift holds. It was given with such loving care and thoughtful purpose that it can fit every life, no matter how broken by sin or hurt by circumstances. This gift of love and grace reaches down to the depth of human despair and scales the highest mountain of human accomplishments. Yet the power of God's gift encompasses every living soul, to bring life through the Gospel!
This gift of grace and mercy reached down to a woman in our congregation the other day. She had been sick for weeks. Shingles turned into an infection and she just felt lousy. On Sunday morning she determined to get out of bed and come to the house of God no matter what. She knew that if she could get into His presence she would feel better. The singing began and she entered into the worship. Then the Word of God came and she received that Bread of Life, Jesus Christ. It was fresh manna from heaven to her soul! She came to the altar after the preaching and received prayer and the Lord touched her and strengthened her so much she was able to come back in the evening service and testify of His goodness towards her! I know there are times we just can't come to church, but sometimes we give up before our eyes even open. Sometimes we just have to be good and stubborn and put forth the effort. It is at those times of weakness that the Lord becomes our strength. It is at those low times in life that Jesus Christ is exalted above everything. When our mind says, “No,” to the things of God it is then we must change that saying to, “Yes!”
This reminds me of how determined Mary, the mother of Jesus, must have been to fulfill the Scriptures. God put into her heart the desire to bring forth the Messiah. It was her dream, her hope, and her motivation in life. She knew she was destined to do something great in this life, yet her surroundings were humble. She lived several miles north of Bethlehem, so I wonder if thoughts came to her mind that said to her there was no way she would be the one. But isn't it strange how God had His hand on her life and how He moved an ungodly king to levy a tax that would upset every family in Israel? This tax burden actually paved the way for our Savior to come into the world, fulfilling Scriptures! Every Jewish person was taught that their Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, but here she was in Nazareth! The Lord sent an angel all the way to her modest home, an out of the way location that no one, not even she, would suspect God would use. Did you ever feel that way, that not even God would use you because of your surroundings and circumstances? But the mighty arch-angel Gabriel stood in her home one night and told her the glad tidings that she had found favor with God!
Mary asked him how this miracle could be, because she wasn't married. “And the angel answered and said unto her The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). If Mary needed the Holy Ghost to come upon her to fulfill the Scriptures how much more do we? This is why I go to church: to get into His presence so He can overshadow me to help me do what He called me to do.
When the angel finished explaining these things to her, Mary simply said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38). The things that would soon take place in her life had never happened to anyone before. This acceptance of the will of God changed her whole life right there. When the taxing was announced, she knew exactly what she needed to do: go with Joseph to Bethlehem. She knew that while he was paying his taxes she would bring forth the Christ. What a glorious Lord we serve! He knows every detail from the beginning to the end. All we need to do is yield to His directions, like Mary did. Who knows what God's plans and thoughts are towards you? I do know this, though: He loves you and will work all things together for good to those who yield to His will and love Him!
From our church to your home, may God abundantly bless you this Christmas and always! Please know that we are praying for you. If you don't have a church to attend I invite you to ours. Come and be my special guest on Sunday at 10 AM and 7 PM, and Wednesday at 7:30 PM. This year our Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion Service will be held at 7:30 PM. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Rev. Daniel Bossidy