Surprise! You're pregnant! 😳

"...the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a Son, and you are to call Him Jesus."

Luke 1:30-31 (NIV)

Everyone likes to get good news. There's no debate about that. What is apparently is up for debate is what exactly constitutes "good news." Clearly, the angel Gabriel thought carrying Jesus was good news. He tells Mary, "You have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son..."

Hm. Translation: "Surprise! You're pregnant!" You can almost picture him with giant smile, hands outstretched, like, "ta da!"

"I'm going to turn your life upside down. You had plans? Scrap em. Not quite married yet, and this might cause a bit of a scandal? You'll get over it. You're engaged and it's not even going to be his baby? No worries, I'll have a chat with him. Oh, and uh, one more thing, the reigning king wants to kill your baby so if this didn't already throw your life into a bit of a tailspin, you'd better pack up everything and make a beeline for Egypt...Congrats!" (big smile).

This is part of the disconnect between humanity and God. We have plans. And often they're not only not the same as His, but they're not even in line with His. To us, completely turning our lives upside down to accommodate God is a hassle, a burden, frustrating, and, at the very least, not "good news." We are sentient, sovereign beings and we want a say in what happens in our lives. In fact, we want THE say. 

The Christmas Story is a challenging reminder: however we see ourselves, to God, we are His. We are sentient because He made us that way. Whatever sovereignty we may have is provided at His discretion.

We often look at serving God as disruptive to our lives, while God looks at serving Him as the purpose of our lives. To God, getting to play apart in the eternal plan of the redemption of all humanity is good news.

And apparently Mary agreed. "May your word be fulfilled." she replies. No argument, no shoulder slump, no disappointed tone.

Mary knew herself as His. As beautiful and miraculous and wonderful as the Christmas is, it's also challenging. It's filled with people who had no idea they were destined to play a part in God's plan, but willingly submitted to it when they found out. People who happily set aside their own ideas and plans for their lives in light of His. (Mary didn't even get to choose the name of her own baby!)

And today, some 2000 years later, because of their obedience, because of their willingness, we have Christmas. The world was changed because of a baby...and the willingness of God's people to play their part in it.

No that sounds sacrilegious but for whatever reason God constant chooses to use humanity to accomplish His plans; so much so that He actually became one! It's like He's saying over and over, "I love you! I want you!" The greatest love we show is the love we don't need. And God keep showing it to us over and over.

 The Christmas story is a reminder that God loves us, and has plans for us; and that those plans, in fact are part of His love for us. He's not trying to make life hard, but to (ultimately) make it easier, better because God's plans for you can change the course of history. The Christmas story challenges us with this thought: "What might God do with me if I was just willing?" 

It reminds of what God can do with a life willing to be used; willing to be submitted to His plan and His purposes. 

The reality is that while kids make their Christmas lists, and spouses hint at each other about theirs, God has one too; and we're on it. Ironically, maybe the best thing gift you could give anyone this Christmas is the one you give to the only Being in all reality that seems to have everything; you.