The Wonder of Christmas!
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph before they came together she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
But while he thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph thou son of David fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife; for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
Behold a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
And knew her not till she had brought forth her first-born son: and he called his name JESUS. Matthew 1:18-25
This wondrous season brings us into remembrance of the birth of Christ which was foretold by the prophet Isaiah. This was an amazing time with many marvelous signs, angels, a star guiding the way to the Christ child, and not only the birth of Christ but his predecessor, the birth of John the Baptist also was occurring to a woman who supposedly could have no children.
During this time the Word was in force, as it always is, and you will be able to easily see why the Christ was born to Mary and Joseph and likewise why John was born to Zacharias and Elisabeth. Often, in my writing I talk about the Word being alive and moving in the unseen, manifesting, bringing about circumstances because of what has been spoken, literally power in motion.
First, let us look at the account in Luke, which is the most complete, starting with the birth of John the Baptist. It says there, this. about Zacharias and Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. And they had no child, because that Elizabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years. Luke 1:6 So, these were good, righteous people who were trying to live according to the precepts of God, Zacharias it says was even a priest. It was while he was at the temple burning incense, a custom of the priest’s office, that an angel appeared unto him.
And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. Luke 1:12-13
The scriptures go on to say that John, shall not drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. Luke 1:16-17
But Zacharias response was not what the angel Gabriel, or God, wanted to hear because it appears, he was in doubt of what he was told.
And Zacharias said unto the angel. Whereby shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee,, and to show thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. Luke 1:18-19
This scripture reveals a couple different important points. As I have said repeatedly in my writing the words of your mouth bring about circumstances. Jesus explains this in Matthew, that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. This is why Zacharias was made dumb, so he could not speak because power is put in motion when you speak, either good or negative. It was to show him and us that words have consequences. Contrarily, look at the response of Elisabeth and Mary and what they had to say.
Powerful women of God
Then, the scriptures say, And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men. Luke 1:24-25
Now, why did she say this? Because at this time in history women were very low in social status and if you could not have children then your value was diminished even more among men, so Elisabeth was simply grateful. Then scriptures say, 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. Mary, was troubled by this manner of salutation but the angel told her to, Fear not Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. Then the scriptures go on to tell her about the son to be born to her and that his name would be Jesus. Mary did ask how this could be since she had not been with a man. The angel told 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. Luke 1:35
Now, look at Mary’s response to the angel and you can immediately see why she was chosen to be the mother of the Christ child. Mary obviously had an amazing understanding of how the word operates for her words are filled with power and positive affirmations. The angel goes on to tell her about her cousin, Elisabeth and how she had conceived a son in her old age and then tells her this:
For with God nothing shall be impossible. Luke 1:37
This too, is what Jesus tells us. Then Mary’s powerful response!
And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to thy word. Luke 1:38
So, Mary immediately had received this information as truth by faith. She already sees herself as the handmaid of the Lord and says, putting power in motion, be it unto me according to thy word. In our terms it would be, okay, let it be done! This is a powerful statement because at that time a woman could be put to death for having a premarital relationship, even though she had not, to people it would certainly appear she had. She did not question or fear but simply acted in accordance with the word given to her. Then, the angel departed from her and it says Mary went to see her cousin Elisabeth. The conversation that ensues shows both of these women were filled with understanding and the knowledge of God.
And it came to pass, that when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb, and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:
And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.
This clearly shows in the last sentence that, believing, is an integral part of the equation. Faith, puts God’s power in motion. All the way back to Abraham, faith, is what puts God’s power to work. Then, Mary responds:
And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shown strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.
He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He hath helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;
As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.
Glory to God, this is powerful. Mary did not say anything other than power-filled words, that blessed God, and by so doing, blessed herself also. Immediately, you can see why she was chosen, but to be blessed she had to listen and believe!
Then Mary stayed at her cousin, Elisabeth’s home for another three months and Elisabeth delivered a son.
And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. And his mother answered and said Not so; but he shall be called John. Luke 1:59-60
Now, this was huge because women as we discussed were of low social status at the time, so speaking out like this was a big deal.
And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying His name is John. And they marveled all.
And his mouth was open immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake and praised God. Luke 1:61-64
Then the Holy Ghost came upon Zacharias and he prophesied and glorified God, talking about the coming of Christ, the redeemer of Israel, and he said this about John. And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins.
Mary and Joseph then had to return to his own city because of a tax decree from Caesar so they proceeded to go to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
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 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. Luke 2:7-14
Glory to God, this is a wondrous time of the year! Of course, we must get past all of the commercialism and get back to the roots of the story, but when we do so we can truly realize how important this event truly is.
By faith, we too must accept what has been done for us and learn how to live in accordance with God’s precepts, truly loving God and one another! The Christ went on to show us the way, to give his earthly life, because of his great love for mankind, fulfilling prophecy from many years before his birth. But I marvel too at Mary and Elisabeth’s great faith!
May you all have a blessed holiday season! Remember too, the word holidays came from holy days. So, when someone wishes you happy holidays, remember, yes indeed, holy days they are! Oh, yes, the wonder of Christmas! Until next time, may you be filled with the power of God, loving one another and the Lord. Merry Christmas!