Unwrapping Christmas: Love

The announcement of Jesus’ birth was an unusual and unprecedented event. Although this day was foretold and anticipated for hundreds of years, when an angel conveyed to Mary what would happen, she was not prepared for it.

In her conversation with the angel Gabriel, we find five faith-building truths that reinforce our confidence in God. Luke records these five truths that define who Jesus is.

#1 He will be great!

The word great comes from the Greek word megas, and it means exceedingly or large. Jesus exceeds His peers in capacity, purpose, and efficacy.

This first characteristic emphasizes that God can handle any trouble that comes our way. God won’t be outmatched or overwhelmed.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,” Ephesians 3:20

#2 Son of the Most High.

The title Most High was used exclusively for God in scripture, to separate Him from idols and false gods. This emphasizes His majesty and supremacy over all and declares that there is no one higher than He.

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

Life, abundant life, and eternal life are found in Jesus alone, and there is no other way to Heaven than through Jesus!

#3 Given the throne of His father, David.

The term “father” refers to His lineage and points out how Jesus’ throne will parallel David’s throne and kingship.

  • God chose David. 1 Samuel 16:1
  • Jesus was chosen by God. 1 Peter 1:20
  • David was a man after God’s heart. He honored God with his life, Acts 13:22.
  • Jesus said, and did what He heard from God. John 8:28, 12:49
  • David’s throne was a throne of grace. 2 Samuel 9
  • Jesus came to save the world, not to condemn the world. John 3:17

#4 His kingdom will last forever.

This reminds us no matter how dark life gets or how persecuted we become, Jesus’ kingdom is eternal. In the end, we win!

With such great news, it begs the question, why is Mary so afraid?

Luke 1:29 and 30 we read, 29she was greatly troubled,” and the angel comforted her by saying, “30Do not be afraid.”

But keep in mind, fear is an involuntary response. It’s the biological reaction that warns us or protects us from potential danger.

We can’t prevent fear from happening, but we can choose how to respond to fear as people of faith. There were so many God-loving people who were instructed to fear not.

  • Mary was chosen by God, yet is afraid; greatly troubled.
  • Moses, whom God chose and had a unique relationship with, was hesitant and fearful about approaching Pharaoh on God’s behalf.
  • Joshua was reminded to be strong and courageous and to fear not.
  • The disciples, handpicked by Jesus, hide after Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion because they were afraid.

Don’t allow fear to call the shots or isolate you. “[F]or God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Mary’s strength would not come from her fortitude but based on two essential truths.

#1 “The LORD is with you.” Luke 1:29

Her courage is to be established on the truth that Emmanuel, God is with us! The same is true for you today. God is with you. You don’t have to be afraid!

#2 Favor with God! Luke 1:30

The word favor translates from the word “charis” and is where we get the word grace.

Charis is defined as the absolutely free expression of the loving-kindness of God to mankind, finding its only motive in the bounty and benevolence in the Giver. (Strongs Greek Dictionary)

Grace is the great equalizer. God’s standard is holiness/perfection, which is humanly unattainable. Where we come up short, grace fills in the gap.

A key pillar in the structure of grace is God’s love. Without love, grace cannot stand. Grace is wrapped in unconditional love.

And that’s what Christmas is all about, God’s unconditional love for you, which supplies His unending grace to you.

You are loved.

God’s love for you does not change because of any good or bad you have done. He loves you because you are made in His image.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” Romans 8:35

The word “separate” in the Greek means to put space between, to severe. This underscores the truth that God loves is not based on anything you’ve done or have not done.

One of the greatest gifts you can give to others this Christmas and every day is to reflect the love you have received from God to others around you.

This Christmas, may you abound in the grace and love of God given freely to you!

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