With God, all things are possible. ALL THINGS!
Even an event like THE VIRGIN BIRTH.
Some 2,000 years ago, an angel was sent by God to the tiny town of Nazareth in the Galilee area. The area was small, the inhabitants few and a popular saying of the day was:
CAN ANY GOOD THING COME OUT OF NAZARETH?
Perhaps not before, but after the visit by the angel Gabriel to an unknown Mary, from Nazareth would come the Savior of the world.
Mary the virgin was pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The angel Gabriel said to her:
GREETINGS, YOU WHO ARE HIGHLY FAVORED! THE LORD IS WITH YOU.
Gabriel went on to say:
DO NOT BE AFRAID, MARY. YOU HAVE FOUND FAVOR WITH GOD. YOU WILL BE WITH CHILD AND GIVE BIRTH TO A SON. YOU ARE TO GIVE HIM THE NAME JESUS.
HE WILL BE GREAT AND WILL BE CALLED THE
SON OF THE MOST HIGH.
THE LORD GOD WILL GIVE HIM THE THRONE OF HIS FATHER DAVID AND HE WILL REIGN OVER THE HOUSE OF JACOB FOREVER. HIS KINGDOM WILL NEVER END!
And, rightly so, Mary was troubled and she said to the angel:
“How will this come about since I am a virgin?”
To which the angel responded:
THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL COME UPON YOU AND THE POWER OF THE MOST HIGH WILL OVERSHADOW YOU.
So the Holy One to be born would be called the SON OF GOD.
The natural man scoffs at angels but the spiritual man knows that with God all things are possible, including angels.
Mary, now with child, the Holy Ghost having come upon her, went to the home of Zechariah and Elizabeth, relatives, and when she arrived, Elizabeth knew of this Immaculate Conception and Elizabeth said to Mary:
BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN, AND BLESSSED IS THE CHILD YOU WILL BEAR!
Elizabeth knew that Mary would be the mother of her Lord and ours as well.
So, the world was about to change because of that event in Nazareth. Jesus of Nazareth would soon be born in Bethlehem of Judea and this Nazarene, this SON OF THE MOST HIGH would soon be known as THE SAVIOR, the Prince of Peace, the Christ of Glory.
When Elizabeth had finished, Mary began her very own song of praise:
MY SOUL MAGNIFIES THE LORD
AND MY SPIRIT REJOICES IN GOD MY SAVIOR!
FOR HE HAS BEEN MINDFUL OF THE HUMBLE STATE OF HIS SERVANT.
FROM NOW ON ALL GENERATIONS WILL CALL ME BLESSED
FOR THE MIGHTY ONE HAS DONE GREAT THINGS FOR ME
HOLY IS HIS NAME!
Such powerful praise and adoration this Magnificat of Mary was. Mary, the virgin, so humble in spirit, thought of herself as the HANDMAIDEN of the Lord, perhaps still puzzled as to why she was chosen to bear the King of Kings, but willing and obedient to do the will of God.
And the Babe of Bethlehem grew within her. Fiancé Joseph, of the lineage of David, sought to put her away but again, an angelic message explained to him what had happened, foretold the birth of this Son and the instructions to him that His name would be Jesus. Thereafter, Mary would be wife and mother for Joseph. It is incredibly difficult to imagine how this man 2,000 years ago would react. Nothing like this in human history had ever happened before. He, Joseph was chosen to supervise and support the birth of the Savior of the world. That would be impossible for any man to comprehend but Joseph, obedient like Mary, accepted the angelic explanation and this divine drama proceeded.
Surely, Joseph could see the remarkable changes in Mary. For those precious months, Mary’s soul glorified the Lord. She told all that her spirit rejoices in God my Savior. Surely that glorifying and rejoicing was well noticed, even participated in by Joseph. Mary, the humble servant of the Lord knew what great things God had done for her and she was perhaps the first to live in a brand new, revolutionary state of praise and worship. Soon, that would be available to all mankind.
Then came the decree from Caesar Augustus that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. Joseph, who belonged to the house and lineage of David therefore went to Bethlehem of Judea to register with Mary, since Bethlehem was the City of David. But the town was full and there was no room in the inn so that Mary and Joseph slept in a manger. And there, in that manger, Mary gave birth to a son and as a proud and loving mother, she wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger. Such were the humble circumstances of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the Babe of Bethlehem, the Prince of Peace and the Savior of the world.
AND THAT IS THE REAL MEANING OF CHRISTMAS! That birth of the Savior of the world is what we celebrate at Christmas! This rabidly secular world of ours wishes to de–spiritualize this event and take CHRIST OUT OF CHRISTMAS. We who believe must never let that happen but rather band together in glorious praise and worship to the Babe and especially to the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let not, my fellow Christians, the secularists abandon the Christ of Christmas.
So, Christ was born and there began the spreading of the Word:
AND THERE WERE SHEPHERDS ABIDING IN THE FIELDS
KEEPING WATCH OVER THEIR FLOCKS BY NIGHT
AND LO THE ANGEL OF THE LORD APPEARED TO THEM
AND THE GLORY OF THE LORD SHONE ROUND ABOUT THEM
AND THEY WERE SORE AFRAID
BUT THE ANGEL SAID TO THEM
DO NOT BE AFRAID
I BRING YOU GOOD TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY THAT WILL BE FOR ALL PEOPLE
THIS DAY IN THE CITY OF DAVID
A SAVIOR HAS BEEN BORN FOR YOU
HE IS CHRIST THE LORD
THIS WILL BE A SIGN UNTO YOU
YOU WILL FIND THE BABE WRAPPED IN SWADDLING CLOTHES
AND LYING IN A MANGER
AND SUDDENLY THERE WAS WITH THE ANGELS
A HEAVENLY HOST OF ANGELS
PRAISING GOD AND SAYING
GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST
AND ON EARTH PEACE AND GOODWILL TO ALL MANKIND
How interesting that shepherds were chosen as the first to hear this angelic enunciation. Shepherds were watchmen, observant, especially at night as they made certain to protect their sheep. They knew the heavens, the stars and their movements. They were familiar with the night and they could, like wise men and kings, identify and follow the STAR OF WONDER, the star which shone brightly that night over the City of David, the blessed Bethlehem of Judea, where the Prince of Peace was born.
And those shepherds left immediately and they found Mary and Joseph and the Babe lying in the manger. And when they had seen him, they were the very first evangelists, spreading the word of this miraculous and marvelous birth, the message they had been told by the angel about this Babe. And that was the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. From then on, the shepherds glorified and praised God for all the things they had heard and seen even as we who believe do so today. We well say today as the shepherds and angels did then:
GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST
AND ON EARTH PEACE GOODWILL TOWARD ALL MANKIND
Men and women search today for truth even as the shepherds did. The search is everywhere but the truth, the ultimate truth was revealed to mankind in a manger in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago. Wise men and women, who truly seek him, will find him there. Those who scoff, mock a virgin birth, the concept of angels and the creation of a God–man will never, ever know that:
NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD
But to find HIM is a most joyous, wondrous discovery. It is an epiphany like no other. The finding of the Babe is the finding of the world’s greatest treasure. The power, the love, the understanding which results from finding HIM is life–changing then and forevermore. That finding allows us to become as a little child, open and transparent, filled with love and compassion, fully understanding the GRACE of God and that gracious gift which changed the world 2,000 years ago. That faith in the Babe of Bethlehem is the key to entering the Kingdom of God, humbly trusting and believing even as Mary did of old. Women become handmaidens of the Lord like Mary did. Men become servants of the Lord as the shepherds did.
So that, on Christmas Day, we discover the greatest present, the greatest gift one could ever find:
THE BABE OF BETHLEHEM
The gifts we give to others at Christmastime can never begin to equal the gift of God to us. We should celebrate that gift FIRST and wherever possible, give the love of that gift to others. That is what Christmas is all about and that should never change.
And we, like the shepherds should spread the news, the Good News. That is true evangelism and we who believe must never let that message die not only at Christmas, but every day. The wise men of old found Him and the wise men and women of today, the truly wise who search will find Him. For in Him it is all that God is. And that, as the angels well said, are indeed the glad tidings and the great joy for all.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son to all humankind, so that those who believe could have life abundant here and life eternal there. For those who received this gift of God, there comes the power of God making them sons of God and daughters, life all brand new. Women praise the Lord like Mary of old. Men glorify the Lord as the shepherds of old. And that, and only that can bring peace to the world. The message of that Babe is the only message which can spread the goodwill of God and transform the lives of all mankind. May it be yours.
We the Crawford Broadcasting Company, all of us, wish you a very happy, merry, blessed Christmas centered around the Babe of Bethlehem and may the love of God in Jesus Christ be your very special gift this Christmas season. Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace and goodwill for all.