The Miracle of Christmas
By Wally Odum
The Christmas story began in an unlikely town—Nazareth. Nathaniel spoke for a generation of Jewish people when he asked Philip, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” (John 1:46). God wasn’t deterred by the reputations of the town of Nazareth or the region of Galilee. He was willing to go to an improbable place to find a young girl who had faith. He searched the world for the right young woman to carry His Son.
And was Mary ever the right choice! I have trouble believing for a miracle even though there are historical precedences for it. Here was a young girl who believed for a miracle that had never been experienced before and hasn’t been experienced since. She would be pregnant without the involvement of a man. A virgin would give birth to the Son of God.
The social implications of her response were staggering. She was engaged to Joseph, but they had not yet begun to live together. The betrothal was for a full year and then the marriage would have taken place. However, unfaithfulness during the betrothal period was as serious as adultery after marriage. She and Joseph, and ultimately Jesus, would live under a cloud of suspicion for the rest of their lives.
Mary’s response to the angel’s announcement was predictable. She was “troubled.” The Greek word means that she was thoroughly confused and perplexed. Why shouldn’t she be? This had never happened before in all human history.
Mary asked the only question that made sense at the time: “ ‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’ ” (Luke 1:34).
The angel’s response showed that this would have to be the result of the Holy Spirit’s activity. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).
Miracles just don’t happen without the activity of the Holy Spirit. It was true then for this amazing event and it’s true now. So here is a lesson for all of us from the Christmas story, and it applies to us not just at Christmas, but every other day of our lives. We cannot live the life God wants for us, and achieve the dreams he has for us, without the power of the Holy Spirit.
The work of the Holy Spirit was God’s side of the miracle, but what about Mary’s responsibility? Tucked away in the original language of her conversation with the angel was a word that isn’t noticed from a quick reading of the exchange with Gabriel. The angel said to Mary, “For nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). Mary responded to the angel: “May it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38).
Literally, the angel said to Mary, “No rhema of God is powerless.” A rhema is a Greek expression for a “word.” When God speaks, what He says isn’t powerless but is able to bring a miracle to pass. She got the message. She responded, literally, “Let it be to me according to your rhema.” Mary was saying, “If the rhema of God is powerful and does not fail, then let that word work for me.” God wants that to be our response. “Since your Word is not powerless, let it be to me according to your Word.”
We learn from Mary to never give up on the rhema of God. There may seem to be obstacles to God’s promises, but those obstacles can’t stop us if we hold fast to what God has said. His word is powerful. The power of the Holy Spirit and the power of God’s Word are still available. This would be a good time to watch what God will do. It worked for Mary and it will work for us.
© Wally Odum 2010
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Pastor Wally Odum has been in ministry for thirty years and loves to share the Gospel. He brings a relevant, inspirational approach to the Bible. Wally values relevance, but he also values authenticity. His goal is to make Biblical truth relevant to the lives of all who hear him. Visit Wally Odum's Website - www.wallyodum.com.
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