By Gayla Parker, BCM/D WMU Executive Director, Missionary for Missions Education and Customization, Missions Innovator Specialist (WMU, SBC)
My December “must see” list of movies are “White Christmas,” “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus.” The Christmas season is just not complete without watching them at least once before Christmas.
Along with the “must see” movie list, there are “must play” CDs and “must read” books. My grown sons still expect us to read “Santa, Are You For Real?” by Harold Myra on Christmas Eve. And reading Luke 1-2 is always a part of the Christmas Eve celebration.
All of my favorites are stored in the infamous red and green plastic containers and stored in my basement. Unpacking the contents is as good as unwrapping a present. Each item has so many special memories from Christmases past and expectations of Christmases to come. This year when I unpacked the movies, “Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus” especially caught my eye. I couldn’t help but wonder if my life is saying, “Yes, World, There is a Savior!” (Luke 1:26-38)
Since it is Christmas, my thoughts went to Mary and what it must have been like for her as she lived out those nine months of pregnancy and proclaimed, “Yes, World There is Savior!” And I wondered what I might learn from her that could help me share the message of hope with the world I live in. Here is what I learned:
Mary found favor with God (vs. 30). David says in Psalm 84:11, “the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Proverbs tell us that a good man finds favor with God. It doesn’t take long to see a pattern in “favor with God” and “living a life of integrity, good deeds, and the Fruit of the Spirit.” Could it be that a life that “finds favor with God proclaims, “Yes, World, There is a Savior!”?
She lived by faith. Mary had to be totally confused when she heard the announcement of the angel. How could she possibly give birth? As unreasonable as the news sounded the angels answer, “Nothing is impossible with God” (vs 37) was enough for Mary. Others who lived out that same faith include: Abraham who said, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Gen. 18:14 and fathered a son at 100 years old. When Elisha told Joram to dig ditches in the valley for God to fill with water he said, “This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord” (2 Kings 3:18). Jeremiah proclaimed, “Nothing is too hard for you (Lord)” (Jer. 32:17) Am I living a life with that kind of faith? Am I willing to do what doesn’t make sense to the world? What I am doing with my life that can only be explained by God’s presence? (Am I calm in the storm? Do I live on less just so others can have some? Am I joyful in the midst of hard?) Perhaps a life of faith is another way to say, “Yes, World, there is a Savior!”
She was a servant. “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord.” (vs 38). She was willing to go through the ridicule and questions that were going to come and serve the Lord anyway. She had great models to follow. Esther was willing to die for her people. Noah was willing to spend years building the ark. What I am willing to do for the Lord? Am I willing to take a little ridicule for my stand on Biblical principles? Am I willing to spend my extra time building the kingdom? Could it be that servanthood is one way to declare, “Yes, World, there is a Savior!”
She shared the Savior. As the shepherds and wise men came, she introduced them to the baby Jesus. Everyday people come to our homes, our work place, and our places of recreation. When they come are we sharing Jesus with them? The angel told Joseph, “…you will call his name Jesus for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) What better announcement could there be this Christmas season? Am I proclaiming this Christmas Season, “Yes, World, There is a Savior!” His name is Jesus. “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace and with his stripes we are healed!” (Is. 53:5)