Luke (Gospel of Luke 1:26f) tells of the visit of the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary, informing her of glad news that she was to birth the promised Savior into the world he would come redeem. His first words to Mary were, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” He says it again, “…Mary, you have found favor with God.” This was, of course, a particular favor of being the one chosen, out of all the women of Israel, to be the mother of the world’s Savior. What a privilege! But in a sense, this is a microcosm of God’s plan for all of us. We are all highly favored. God favors us, loves us, died for us, rose from the dead for us, calls us, pleads with us, warns us, paints word pictures (parables ), and in every possible way, short of violating our free will free, reaches out to us in favor and love to draw us to Himself. His love is boundless, relentless, and unstoppable. Christmas is at once a merry, joyous, festive time, and a very serious time. Nothing could be more worthy of joyful celebration than the eternal God coming in human flesh to our neighborhood to take our sins upon Himself, dying and rising from the dead, so we could live forever with Him. And nothing could be more serious than our responsibility to answer His call by trusting Him as our Lord and Savior, and surrendering our lives to Him. Nothing has more unending consequences than our decision to accept or reject His offer of love and forgiveness. If you haven’t done so, make this your best Christmas ever by saying “Yes” to His incredible offer of love and life.
REV. DR. RICHARD L. SHAW, PASTOR