Jesus summed up best how we should conduct ourselves when it comes to the people in our lives that are unappreciative, ungrateful, and just plain mean. In Luke 6:35-36 Jesus tells us, “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Doing the right thing for someone who is critical and inconsiderate goes against everything we’re made of…but Christ reminds us that He shows mercy to all, and we should also.
God is mighty and strong on our behalf. There is nothing that God can’t do. In addressing the Lord, Jeremiah stated, “Nothing is too hard for You.” (Jeremiah 32:17) The Creator of heaven and earth is not confined to time, place or our limited reasoning. For our mighty God can attain the unattainable…make the impossible possible, and take the out of the question and answer it with a miracle.
Why did God choose to proclaim the coming Messiah to the shepherds? They were far from the politically elite…and at the other end of the spectrum from the powerful religious circle. So what did God see in that rag-tag group of blue-collar workers in that field outside of Bethlehem to warrant such a grand and glorious display to announce the coming of His Son? In a word, He saw us. He didn’t wish to address the political or religious bigwigs…He chose rather to tell the working class…people like you and me the good news of Jesus Christ. And this holds true today…the Lord Jesus Christ has come for you and me… common, ordinary people who need a Savior.
For Mary, this was her first baby…and for the world, it was likewise a new beginning. For Mary, it was her first labor and delivery in rather dismal conditions.. for us, it was the gift of a new start. It tells us in Colossians 1:15 that, “He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born over all creation.” When that tiny baby was born, the manifestation of God the Father came to earth to dwell among us. And when Mary laid baby Jesus in that manger, surrounded by livestock and hay, the preeminence over all creation arrived to light the way for sinners.
Caesar Augustus had given a command that the whole Roman Empire should have an official count of the population. So we see Joseph and Mary headed to Bethlehem…Joseph’s home town to be recorded. This earthly father of Jesus was a kind carpenter by trade…a conscientious Jew who adhered to the Law…but who had to totally trust God when he found out Mary was pregnant. This quiet man had to work through hurt, confusion, and wounded feelings to rely solely on the Lord’s promise of the coming Messiah.
Anytime sacrificial giving is mentioned, people get real antsy. It’s not that we don’t want to give to Kingdom work…it’s just that we’re selfish. Now you’re probably thinking I’m talking about money…No, I’m not! I’m talking about something far more valuable to you than money…it’s your time. We’ll happily give to charitable organizations, relief funds, and soup kitchens…but ask us to volunteer our time and that’s a different story. It says in II Corinthians 8:12, “For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.” God wants you, not your money…He wants you to volunteer rather than just donate to the cause…He wants you to give sacrificially of your most valuable resource…yourself.