Christmas season 2005
During this Advent season I will be taking the Bits of Encouragement from The Message of Christmas by Eugene H. Peterson.
The Message of Christmas
The story of Jesus' birth has a long legacy. Our planet fairly teems with stories and song, paintings and drama, that got their start from this story. The reproductive energies show no sign of tapering off. Writers and singers and artists, to say nothing of countless children and parents and grandparents all over the world, continue to find fresh and novel ways of keeping this story going.
But even more impressive are the lives that continue to get a fresh start-a new birth-in the story of this birth. Day after day, men and women who feel more dead than alive, in the hearing or singing or seeing of this story rediscover the utter and unspeakable and beautiful preciousness of life. The story of Jesus' birth gets reproduced in these human lives still, over and over and over again.
The birth of Jesus is a birth with a message. It takes the entire Bible to bring the complete message, but this birth is the core of it: In Jesus, God is here to give us life, real life.
The Announcement to Mary
God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin's name, Mary. Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her:
"Good Morning! You're beautiful with God's beauty, Beautiful inside and out! God be with you."
She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, "Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus. "He will be great, be called 'Son of the Highest.' The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David; He will rule Jacob's house forever- no end, ever, to his kingdom."
Mary send to the angel, "But how? I've never slept with a man." The angel answered,
"The Holy Spirit will come upon you, the power of the Highest hover over you; Therefore, the child you bring to birth will be called Holy, Son of God.
"And did you know that your cousin Elizabeth conceived a son, old as she is? Everyone called her barren, and here she is six months pregnant! Nothing, you see, is impossible with God." And Mary said, "Yes, I see it all now: I'm the Lord's maid, ready to serve. Let it be with me just as you say." Then the angel left her.
We have so many reasons to be encouraged during this Christmas season! I hope these "little bits" bless you!