December 22, 2013 – Fourth Sunday of Advent

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It’s Christmas week!  For many in America, this week offers excitement of gifts to come. For others, this week is full of stress from not having finished (or started) their Christmas shopping. While the joy of gift-giving is a wonderful part of Christmas, I pray this week also reminds us to believe in miracles.

Look, let’s face it.  If any one of us were in Mary’s shoes, we would be dumbfounded over how we were pregnant.  She was a virgin.  It is simply not biologically possible for this to happen, right?  In addition, Mary was now subject to public ridicule because of her pregnancy. What must have gone through her head?  What would go through yours?  The only way Mary was able to respond, “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let God’s will be done” was that her God was BIG and she believed in miracles.

To believe in miracles means that you believe that somehow what is considered to be impossible can actually happen – even if you cannot explain how it happens. There are countless stories in our world of the impossible becoming possible. From inventors to athletes to doctors, our world is filled with stories of unexplainable events, accomplishments and healings. If you asked any one of those who have been a part of the unexplainable, they will all agree that they cannot tell you exactly how it happened – only that they believed it was possible. The key was that they positioned themselves to experience the impossible. Mary did not understand “how” things happened the way they happened, but also did not believe it was impossible for God to make it happen.  Mary’s “yes” to the Lord really starts with her “yes” to believing in the impossible. While there is evidence that Mary was afraid, there is also evidence that Mary understood that God was calling her for something and she knew He would take care of the details on “how” it would happen.  If Mary allowed her fear to keep growing and tried to rationalize the “hows” of her calling, she would have placed human limits on God.  She would have made God into her own human image and not the other way around.

That is not the behavior of a disciple. To give everything to the Lord means that you must get rid of all control. You must stop trying to rationalize what you think can or cannot happen.  Mary inspires me because her God was BIG.  To accept the birth of the Lord through you brings a lot of stress.  Come on, can you imagine the parenting pressure she faced?  Yet, throughout her life and the life of Jesus, Mary deals with every challenge, question, situation and event with steadfast trust that the God who began the good works in her would see it though to completion. Fear would not control her faith.  Faith controlled her fears. What about you?  What is possible and what is not in your life?  Do you believe in miracles?  Can you be used by God to bring others to discipleship?  How far will you go?  What limits do you have?  This Christmas, may the best gift you open be the gift God gave you at your birth. May you come to realize that you can do great things through God who will strengthen you, guide you and make the impossible, possible.  Merry Christmas!

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