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12.21.2017
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Devotional

You’re preggers! Mary isn’t the only one who’s expecting this Christmas

At the heart of the Christmas Story, there is a birth. Every birth signals a new beginning. But this birth…

post by Samantha

At the heart of the Christmas Story, there is a birth. Every birth signals a new beginning. But this birth opened up new worlds not just for Mary or Israel, but for all people.

God was about to do a new thing.

This is what God does best. God is a Creator, always birthing some new beginning. Not just at the beginning of time, and not just when Jesus came, but always.

There is a lot we can learn by watching what God did through Mary. 

Mary was pregnant. God was literally about to birth something in her, through her.

And because of Jesus’ ability to make all things new, it’s also true now that God is wanting to birth something new in me, too! And in you. All the time. Think of it!

Did you know you’re expecting? You’re preggers! From God’s perspective, the future is pregnant with possibilities. God is wanting to do a new thing!

Think about your life and what this past year has been like. At the same time consider what the next year may hold. As you ponder these things in your heart, consider what new thing God wants to birth in you. Where is there a new beginning gestating in the womb of your soul? 

When God wants to bring a new beginning in your life, I have found it usually feels a lot like things felt for Mary when she had the unborn Jesus planted within her.

First, I think for Mary, having this baby was SCARY. 

Poor young girl, so afraid. So many scary concerns, unknowns, and questions about the future.

Would Joseph have her back?

Would her reputation be restored, with the way people were talking? And if not, was her social life over, or her economic stability at risk?

“What does it even mean that GOD is alive inside of me?”

Every woman wants the best for her child but the prophecy about the child spoke harshly of a sword piercing hearts.

I see a teenage pregnant girl crying out, “THIS IS SO SCARY!”  

And for Mary, having this baby would be HARD.

She knows she will have to carry this child to term. Pregnancy is no cake walk. She will have the grueling labor and delivery, something many women didn’t survive in those days.

And then there is the worst possible timing for the census, coming when she was in her third trimester. She finds herself on the back end of a donkey making a difficult trip to Bethlehem, bumping along uncomfortably.

Then the nightmarish arrival in Bethlehem amidst contractions, finding no place to get rest and warmth until she finally collapsed on straw near a feed trough.

And then with her young child finally delivered, at the time when every mother is “nesting,” she is confronted with the horror of Herod’s maniacal baby-killing decree. They are fleeing a nationwide edict of infanticide, throwing the baby and a few things together, rushing out the door in the night. They leave their world behind, running for their lives in an attempt to hide their precious child from a bloodthirsty dictator.

I can see a young teenage girl crying through tears, “This is so HARD.”

What God was birthing was indeed scary and hard. 

But it was also GOOD. And downright EXCITING!

Good and exciting because it’s a new birth! And any new birth is exciting.

But especially good because of how this One would fulfill God’s promises and change everything.

The angel’s words promised that this whole ordeal would be so worth it, because it wasn’t just a baby but a savior who was born, a rescuer. Through Mary would come Hope for all people. They would call him Jesus “because he will save the people from their sins.”

He would grow until his tiny hands would reach out to love, touch, and heal and ultimately be nailed for the forgiveness of our sins.

The world would never be the same!

And it all began with a seed of a promise inside of that girl.

Now we know there was so much more than the difficulty and fear that threatened to swallow her whole. On this side of birth, there is sheer joy! The kind that causes an angel choir to show up and shout! Heaven celebrates this birth, and all eternity echoes a refrain of joyful praise!

The angel says, “Mary, you are blessed among women.”

Scripture says she treasured up these things in her heart, hiding a deep joy way down inside her. She bursts out into her own song, “My soul magnifies the Lord!”

I see a young teenage girl singing, “I’m so happy right now! This is so good! This is so exciting!”

Like every birth, for Mary it was all so Scary and Hard. But it was also Good and Exciting and Joyous!

And I have discovered that when God is trying to birth something in me, it feels the same way.

It’s scary. When God sends Jesus inside of me to bring a new beginning, I’m usually afraid and want to resist it. Change can be terrifying. But there is no new life without the change God wants to bring.

Be careful that you don’t miss what God wants to begin in you because you are too afraid. 

It’s hard. When God wants to birth something in me, I can sense the hard labor coming. It will be a struggle. The way won’t be easy. Change is hard. Obedience is difficult.

Be careful that you don’t shut down the new beginning God is wanting to birth in you, because you don’t like to do hard things and therefore push back against the discomfort of obedience.  

I know this:  God is ready now to birth something in me. And in you. And though abandoning old paths is scary and hard, I’m learning I must say with Mary, “Let it be with me however you want, Lord.” Because I know it will be good. It will be exciting. I will have joy outweighing all the sorrows and fears and challenge.

 I wonder what new things God is wanting to do in you right now?

Can you identify where it is time for God to birth something new and important within you? A new dream, perhaps? A new attitude or perspective on some part of living? A new vision for your future, your family, or your faith? A new level of commitment to Christ? A new focus on serving Him? A newly ordered set of priorities? God will birth a new direction or a new role, a new way of being with your family, or a new assignment.

“If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation. The old is gone, and the new has come!”  — 2 Corinthians 5:17

Christmas is not just about God birthing Christ through Mary. It’s about all the things God wants to birth through you and me as a result of Christ’s incarnation. The same Christ God sent through Mary is now alive in us, moving by His Spirit to birth new life all the time.

We desperately need the Goodness and Excitement that Life in Christ brings to our lives. But, just like Mary, leaving our old life, abandoning the familiar path will be scary. It will be hard.

If there is nothing scary or hard about your life right now, it’s safe to say you’re not trusting God to birth something new in you.  

Nothing less than birth needs to happen in us. A new beginning is desperately needed. But it won’t come without travail.

When it’s scary and hard, like Mary say YES. “I’m ready, God. Let it happen however you want.”

Because God is good, all the time.

All this teaches us to look at our lives, paying attention to the times this past year when we were SCARED, or the times when you thought something was just plain HARD, or even the times when you just got EXCITED at how GOOD something was. All these things are clues that God was birthing something inside of you, bringing a new beginning. That pain and fear that about did us in is part of the birthing process. Hang in there. Breathe. With Christ, Goodness is on the way.

You’re expecting, my friend. You are pregnant with possibilities. 

Because of Jesus and the resurrection power he brings, God is wanting to birth something new in you! Yes, it will be SCARY! Yes, it will be HARD!

But it will be GOOD! And EXCITING! And a cause for great JOY!

Like Mary, say YES. And see what God will do.

Ben

 

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