|Robert Houk Hitchcock|
Around the world, the holiday season is proclaimed for many different reasons and in many different ways.
For the retailers, it's the season for shopping and sales. For children, it's the season for fun and presents. For the choirs and television, it's the season for productions and holiday specials.
It is interesting that in God's Word, what you find surrounding the coming of the savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, is a great deal of believing.
And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
For with God nothing shall be impossible. [literally- "For nothing shall be impossible with God, no Word"]
And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
What a wonderful conversation. God declared His promise to Mary of the Son of God by way of the angel Gabriel. She didn't quite understand and asked for an explanation. She was given the explanation (i.e. the "how" this shall be), and she quite simply BELIEVED.
In verse 37, the literal usage is "No Word with God shall be impossible." Whatever God has promised, it is not impossible.
Mary said, "Be it unto me according to thy word." So, surrounding the event of the promise of the Christ child, we can see it was believing that was man's proper response to the season of Christ.
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
As you know already, Mary did believe, and Jesus Christ was conceived in her womb. After the proper time of life, Mary was ready to have this baby like all mommies are after 9 months!
She brought forth the child and God made an announcement. He announced it to a couple of shepherds in the field. They heard what God said and they believed. They made haste, it says, to see the child Jesus.
They heard God's Word, they believed God's Word. Must be a season for believing God's Word.
They returned and glorified and praised God.
Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
Abraham believed God's promise of the Christ. And he believed when God told him that the savior would come out of his loins. T'was the season for believin'!
For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
David rejoiced, too, to see the day of Christ's coming. He rejoiced, he believed. You see this pattern all the way through God's Word. Mary believed. Joseph believed. The shepherds believed. Abraham believed. David believed.
All the way through God's Word, the season that concerns the Lord Jesus Christ is filled with BELIEVING.
Gift giving is fun; trees look pretty decorated; presents are fun to give and receive; big family dinners are wonderful to prepare and to enjoy. There are many activities associated with the "Christmas" season, but the one great response throughout the ages has been, and still is, believing God's Word and looking for Christ!
II Corinthians 1:20
For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
Why not this holiday season claim the promises of God as a family tradition? The usual frantic pace and pressure to spend money and on and on could be replaced with "Father, thank you for a wonderful holiday. Thank you for supplying all of our need. Thank you for blessing every giver. Thank you for keeping us in perfect peace." A great holiday season tradition: CLAIMING THE PROMISES OF GOD.
II Corinthians 3:5
Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;
No reason to respond the way the world so often does to the season. There's hardly a person that you'll ever meet these days that after the holiday season has past doesn't say, "Boy, am I glad that's all over with!!!!" Mary didn't say that (well, maybe she did. . . but she was glad to have Jesus); the shepherds didn't say that; Abraham didn't say that; David didn't say that.
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Giving is a wonderful truth in the Word of God. It is not the value attached to a gift that makes it great, it's the heart with which it's given that God gives value to.
II Corinthians 9:7
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
I think this verse could become a new theme for each holiday season.
A season of believing. A season of receiving from God all that He
has made available to us in His wonderful Son, Jesus Christ.
A season of seeing the power of God in operation. A season of answered prayer. A season of giving and receiving. A season of joy and rejoicing. Tis the season for believin'!
© Copyright December 1997