This devotional is a part of the 2021 Christmas devotional book – “Joy to the World.” Access the entire devotional and download your free copy by clicking here.
Rejoice! He blesses us!
Scripture Reading: Luke 1:26-45
Do you want a “blessed” life? Of course you do! Who doesn’t, right? Only a hardcore atheist that does not believe in a “Bless-or” is repelled by the concept of being blessed by their Creator. However, what does the blessing of God look like, and how do we get on the blessed list . . . these are thoughts we often debate or question.
Before addressing these, I want to direct our attention to a very popular Christmas story – Santa Claus. In this story, Mr. Claus spends his year in the North Pole making blessings with his elves to deliver on Christmas Eve to those who have maintained their “nice” list status. “Nice” boys and girls get the prepared blessings, while “naughty” boys and girls get a lump of coal.
So, in Santa’s Christmas story, his blessings are prizes for good behavior, and are withheld for those who do bad things (verified by Elves-on-shelves everywhere).
Is Santa’s story the same as the Savior’s Christmas account? Are the blessings of God delivered only to those who are “nice?” What if we have been a bit “naughty”? What if God has access to the shelves of my heart, not just my house? How would we ever expect blessing by God if He knows all my thoughts?
Well, thankfully, in the true Christmas story of Jesus’ birth, we see HOW God blesses His people and WHO He blesses. Today’s verses from Luke 1:26-45 provide answers for us in profound ways.
As it relates to HOW God blesses, we see that His blessing often comes through the actions of other believers (not magical elves). After Mary gets word that she will be the mother of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World, she is (no doubt) a bit shell shocked. After all it was a LOT to take in. She was a teenager, unmarried, and pregnant. The angel had announced to her what was coming, but what would it all mean? And how would God care for her throughout the impending 9 months of pregnancy? Through daily angelic visits? Nope. God had something else in mind as He guides Mary to visit her relative Elizabeth. You know Elizabeth? The same Elizabeth who was ALSO pregnant with a divinely spoken about birth. Who else in ALL THE WORLD would understand what Mary was going through as well as Elizabeth? What kindness from God to have these pregnancies line up to allow these women to care for each other in the days leading up to the births of their important sons. It reminds us that God sees our situations, cares about our situations, and will provide for us in the midst of our situations … often through the presence and concern of other believers. To say it another way, we are reminded that God wants to care for others through you, and to care for you through others in the church around you.
As it relates to WHO God blesses, it is important to note that Mary was a very NORMAL person. She had not done anything special to stand out … she was not perfect … and had not applied for the position of mother of the Son of God. In every way, the text points to the fact that it was simply God’s gracious initiation that led to this blessing in her life. This reminds us that our salvation and blessing in Christ are not about doing enough to be on the “nice” list, but are anchored firmly in the grace of God. Because of His mercy, my naughtiness can always be overcome by His love.
So, in the angel’s declaration to Mary, and the events that unfold thereafter, we are reminded of yet another reason for joy in Jesus. He desires to care for us, and will care for us, often through the work of His people. And, He will bless us on the basis of His grace, not our performance! What gifts to remember!
Suggested song for today: Mary did you know?
In this Christmas devotional, there is a song referenced for each day. All these songs, are included in a playlist found on Apple Music and Spotify at the following links: