For the next four weeks we will be in a Series called “What Christmas Is All About (the other stuff),” where we are going to reflect on the not often talked about aspects of Christmas. Now, yes, Linus helped us out by telling the world what Christmas is all about. However, that powerful Christmas story from Luke’s Gospel can, and should, propel us into deep depths as to why Christmas is so important.
One of the dangers of the Christmas story is that it is so familiar, we think we know it all: “The shepherds, the wise men, presents, yeah, yeah, yeah, I got it,” we think. But what if there is more to this God becoming man, this God with us, than we have come to know?
So let’s look at “the other stuff” that makes Christmas so wildly beautiful.
The Christmas Story is all about obedience.
Before the story is all about a baby boy, it’s all about an obedient girl. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was most likely a teenager. Forget the idea of being an established upper 20’s woman ready to begin a family and turn her house into a home. Think – a teenage virgin, preparing to be married, still living in her father’s home.
We rush so quickly to Mary carrying God’s child, we forget she was first God’s child who said “Yes” to God’s word. We rush so quickly to knowing Mary as the mother of Jesus we forget that Mary is the one whose obedience would open the door for Eve’s disobedience to be redeemed.
Back at the beginning of the Bible, we learn that the first humans were disobedient to God’s word (Gen. 3:6). Eve failed to carry God’s Word in her heart and because of this she would carry shame in her life. Her disobedience led to the destruction of all things. Her “no” to God opened the floodgate for brother to kill brother (Gen. 4:8). Simply put, the ramifications of Eve’s disobedience cannot be overstated.
Yet, as Eve believed the serpent and welcomed sin, Mary believed the angel and welcomed the One who would save us from our sins (Matthew 1:21). As Eve failed to carry God’s Word in her heart, Mary’s obedience to God led her to carry the Word of God in her womb.
In many Protestant circles we get all wound up if we talk too much about Mary, but I think we don’t talk about her enough. When we look at Mary, we see obedience to God, we see what happens when someone says, “Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). When we look at Mary we see a real Christian because we see someone who has given up her hopes, her dreams, her life in a wild surrender of obedience so that from her womb would come the One to save us from our sins.
Yes, Christmas is all about a baby boy being born, but first it involves a willing girl who obeys so that this baby boy could be born.
Praise God for the obedience of Mary because from her womb has come the Savior of the world, the Second Adam, the One who would be obedient to the Father to the point of death even death on a cross (Philippians 2:8).
The Christmas Story, you see, is all about obedience.
Luke is Pastor of Discipleship to the community of saints, in Christ, at Nashville UMC.