Dec 4, 2011

Simply Christmas: Simple Faith...

Today at church we learned about two people who had a visit from the same angel, Gabriel. One was Zachariah, who was a priest and an educated man who had served in the temple for decades.  For years he and his wife, Elizabeth, had prayed for a child.  Now they were old and barren.  The other was Mary, a young teenage girl who, though engaged to be married, was a virgin.  Both Zachariah and Mary were given the news by Gabriel that a baby was on-the-way.  But their responses were quite different.  

Zachariah was not only surprised that he was being told his prayer was NOW going to be answered, he was actually full of disbelief and questioned the angel.  Mary, on the other hand, did not question "how CAN this be?" but simply asked "how WILL this happen?" (since I am a virgin)

You can read the story for yourself in Luke 1, but basically Zachariah was punished for his unbelief.  On the other hand, Mary was essentially told that she would be receiving a gift!

Mary, a young maiden who was most likely uneducated and illiterate, had plenty of things to be worrying about upon receiving news that she would bear a child.  However, she chose to worship instead of worry.  (Luke 1:46-55)

Do you find yourself in a difficult situation this Christmas?  I believe that sometimes God allows what we consider "hard times" to come to us so that we have absolutely no other choice but to place our trust in Him.  We are not being punished...we are being given a gift in the form of an invitation to turn our eyes and hearts to Him in simple faith, and to turn our worry into worship.  The Lord of all is worthy of our trust.

Here is one of the most ancient hymns of the Church.  I love these words and they always expand my perspective of God.  

"Of the Father's Love Begotten"

by Aurelius C. Prudentius, 413 A.D.

1. Of the Father's love begotten
Ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega,
He the Source, the Ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see
Evermore and evermore.

2. Oh, that birth forever blessed
When the Virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving,
Bare the Savior of our race,
And the Babe, the world's Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face
Evermore and evermore.

3. O ye heights of heaven, adore Him;
Angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him
And extol our God and King.
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert ring
Evermore and evermore.

4. This is He whom Heaven-taught singers
Sang of old with one accord;
Whom the Scriptures of the prophets
Promised in their faithful word.
Now He shines, the Long-expected;
Let creation praise its Lord
Evermore and evermore.

5. Christ, to Thee, with God the Father,
And, O Holy Ghost, to Thee
Hymn and chant and high thanksgiving
And unending praises be,
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory
Evermore and evermore.

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