Have Some Faith for Christmas
Christmas time is finally upon us. It is definitely my favorite time of the year, and I am sure many of us feel the same way. As a believer, I especially love the story of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
As time goes on, I think that I appreciate the back stories about this event which is the central theme of our lives and even of time itself. The unfolding of the events from the very beginning reveal a special gift that is available to all of us as a hidden Christmas gift if we will simply receive it. That is the gift of faith.
When the young virgin Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel, she was troubled by this miraculous experience, mostly because of Gabriel’s salutation. “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you: blessed are you among women!” Luke 1:28. He continued, “Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Luke 1:30-33.
Mary was engaged to be wed to Joseph. In the Jewish custom, this was the same as being married, but they had not yet consummated the marriage by joining together physically; that would happen only after the official wedding feast. Mary told this to the angel and he answered her;” The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. For with God, nothing will be impossible.” Luke 1:35-37.
“Then Mary said, Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38. This faith answer that Mary gave to the angel Gabriel is fascinating. She was telling him that she was willing for everything that he had spoken to come to pass in her life. But what caused her to have such faith in the angel’s words?
The answer is in his statement, “For with God, nothing will be impossible.” As a minister and as a student of the God’s word, I have learned to use a few Greek word study tools. As a graduate of Rhema Bible Training College, I was quite familiar with the word rhema, which means, “spoken word”, with the idea of it being a word spoken to you personally. One day I was looking through my word study concordance and observing the various ways that the KJV translators had translated this word. I looked down the list of scriptures in order and noticed that most of the time they chose the word, ”word”, and many times the word, “saying” was chosen. But all of a sudden I noticed it was translated as “nothing”. It was from this passage in Luke’s gospel, 1:37. Which means literally, “No word of God will be impossible”. The word rhema had the Greek prefix which negated the word, now rendering it as “no word”, but translated by the translators as “nothing”.
You see the gift to all of us here is just like the faith promise offered to Mary. If God says or promises something to us in His word, the Bible, that word that He has spoken is possible to be received in your life. Most Christians will agree that this is true of the promise from Romans 10:13. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
What if we believed His word penned by the Apostle Paul from I Corinthians 9:8? “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” Or I Corinthians 8:9, which says, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” Jesus was certainly rich in Heaven before He chose to take on human flesh to become our Savior. But even while on Earth, He led a traveling mega-ministry around, providing for all of His disciples; 70 of them, not just the 12, and obviously their families that they left in order to follow Jesus. There was so much provision in the money pouch that Judas was constantly stealing from it and no one noticed it but Jesus.
Jesus became poor while hanging on the cross for me and for you. That was the place that he bore our sins, our poverty and our sickness. The Apostle Peter penned God’s word’s to us when he was referencing Isiah 53:5, saying, “Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we having died to sins, might live for righteousness-by whose stripes you were healed.”
This is the gift that God wants us to receive this Christmas. His Word is His bond. Take Him at His Word. Jesus taught His disciples a faith lesson after Peter noticed that a fig tree that Jesus had cursed withered from the roots. Jesus immediately said in Mark 11:22, “Have faith in God.” When we look at the literal translation its says, “Have God’s faith.” You see, we don’t have faith of our own until we believe God’s Word, and then His faith comes into our heart. What Jesus was telling His disciples was that were being offered the gift of God’s faint to use as their own. He is saying the same thing to us today.
I had the opportunity to travel to Nazareth in Israel back in 1977. My friends and I were shopping through the markets that lined the streets when I got separated from them and was lost for about an hour. I saw a large church and walked into it to see if I could get some help. I noticed a Franciscan priest that seemed to be there to answer people’s questions. I told him that I was lost, and asked him what church this was. He answered, this is the Church of the Annunciation.
Suddenly it hit me, of course, Nazareth. My mind immediately ran to this Christmas story and Gabriel coming to speak to Mary. I asked, is this where Mary lived? He said, the grotto below is believed to be Mary’s home. So I then said to the priest, if this is where Gabriel announced to Mary that she was going to become the mother of the Son of God, then this must be the same place that the Holy Spirit came upon her and she conceive the Lord Jesus. I said, this must be the place that God touched the earth to bring salvation to all the people of the world. Immediately the priest began to weep. Then I began to weep, and we just both stood there weeping and worshiping God for His goodness, His grace and His mercy, and blessing us to allow us to be standing in such a holy place.
Eventually my friends showed up at the Church of the Annunciation, and I was able to come back home to the USA; but it would have been OK if I had to stay there till Jesus came back for me.
Receive the gift of God’s faith this Christmas. Believe that all of His promises, His Words, are for you and your loved ones, so that you might receive the abundant life that Jesus died to give you.
President and Founder of Life Christian University