The Power of Christmas
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The Christmas drama began in an unlikely town—Nazareth. God sent the angel Gabriel to Galilee, not Judea. Gabriel went to Nazareth, not Jerusalem. What made the choice of that part of Israel so unexpected was the way the contemporary community regarded Galilee. That region had been overrun by Gentiles centuries before and was still viewed with contempt by the orthodox Jews of Jesus’ day. Nathaniel spoke for a generation of Jewish people when he asked Philip,
“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” ">
Nathaniel knew the place well.
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! She would be pregnant without the involvement of a man. A virgin would give birth to the Son of God. Mary asked the only question that made sense at the time:
“‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’” ">
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.” ">
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.
Sometime back the Associated Press carried this dispatch: “Glasgow, Ky.—Leslie Puckett, after struggling to start his car, lifted the hood and discovered that someone had stolen the motor.” We cannot live without the power of the Holy Spirit any more than we can operate a car without a motor.
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,” ">
Mary responded to the angel:
“May it be to me as you have said.” ">
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 © 2011, printed with permission
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Pastor Wally Odum has been in ministry for 30 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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