I’ve always loved Christmas lights.

The sparkle. The illumination. The flair of color.

 The whole works.

In fact, when I was a toddler, rumor has it I would break down crying if a light burnt out or if a bulb broke (Clearly, I wasn’t aware of a magical, little thing called a spare).

Regardless of infant emotions, point is: it didn’t take long for a fascination to spark.

And as I grew older, I made it a tradition to put up the outdoor Christmas lines every Black Friday, while the rest of the family focused on internal décor.

So as I recently returned to my big box of lights and started decking the brush, I couldn’t help but wonder how Christmas lights are actually fitting reminders as to why we celebrate the season as passionately as we do.

For before Christ could come to be the light of the world, there had to be a willing vessel with the faith to contain it. Pretty crazy, eh? To think at any point in history, a teenage girl would accept one of the most sacred calls in bearing the Son of God at the cost of everything she once held dear.

It honestly blows my mind…especially in today’s world, where it’s so hard to let go of things.

I mean…think about it.

Mary had to be willing to lay it all on the line: her reputation, her identity, her relationships…everything.

And I know we like to make Christmas all about little, ol’ baby Jesus, but when we pause to broaden scope, it allows us to appreciate the incarnation’s supportive cast in greater measure.

Thus, for Christmas this year…I suppose I’ve been in “There’s something about Mary” mode…specifically, the example of her character in the birth narrative.
When we backtrack to Mary’s encounter with Gabriel (Luke 1:28-38), we find a fascinating dialogue between the two. After Gabriel’s incarnational announcement to Mary, note her response in v. 34:

"How will this be…?"

Man...you talk about radical faith!

I mean…Mary could have easily said, “Why me” or “How can this be”.

But what does she do? She puts the emphasis on “will” over “can”…and I’m telling you, friends…the ramifications of what may appear to be a subtle variance is HUGE!

For her response revealed a strong, anchored faith rooted in a God whom she trusted. Thus, by confessing, “How will this be”, she was essentially saying: “I know this will happen. I just want to know how it will happen. ‘Cause all I know is what God says, goes…and I want to go with it!”

And that’s saying something, especially when we consider the 400 years of divine silence preceding the moment.

But the story doesn’t end there.

Check out how Gabriel initiates his response to Mary’s question:

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you...”

Wow! So apparently, Gabriel only needed seven words to not only answer Mary’s question…but also capture the true meaning of Christmas while he was at it.

For Gabriel wasn’t simply telling Mary she would mother the Savior, but he was assuring her: the promise of what’s to come is going to meet with you now.  God is putting a new spirit within you (Ezekiel 11:19-20)…and the miraculous outcome is going to not only going to take on flesh, but take on the sins of the world!*

Again, Mary could have very well freaked out at this point, laughing in the same way Sarah did in Genesis 18:12.

But what do we see? We see a steadfast belief in the ways of God, further evidenced as Mary declares her identity in v. 38: “I am the Lord’s servant…may your word to me be fulfilled.”

Ultimately, Mary’s response in Luke 1 can be a rallying cry for us this Christmas season. ‘Cause when we start to believe in God and the way He wants to use, speak and accomplish mighty things in and through us…then it makes sense why we’d want to respond to Him with the same kind of confidence.
So as you reflect on the true meaning of Christmas (i.e. Jesus coming into the world to restore God’s original intent)…as you celebrate Jesus as the holy infusion of Immanuel and Hosanna…don’t forget the light of God had to spiritually and physically sown…and had to have a container (Mary) willing to foster it.

How great is our God who threads His redemptive plan through those who are unafraid to yield…of those who respond to God’s call in Isaiah 6:8 fashion: Here I am, Lord. [Use] me…according to your will.

May His will warm…and the wonderful purposes He has for you…saturate your hearts with joy this Christmas season.


~ Cameron

*In other words: the promise is going to promise a promise…but that second promise is going to preview itself through you as assurance that the first promise is underway.

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