Unexpected Troubling News This Christmas

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Read Luke 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God to the city of Nazareth in Galilee, to a virgin girl who was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. Her name was Mary.

Gabriel, the angel, came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”

But she found this greeting to be strange and troubling.

The angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Mary. You have found favor with God. And behold, you’ll conceive and bear a son, and you’ll call him Jesus. He’ll be great and he’ll be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he’ll reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Mary said, “But how? How will this happen? I’m a virgin.”

The angel Gabriel said, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy–the Son of God. And not only that, but your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. Because nothing is impossible with God.”

And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

Mary’s Unexpected Troubling News

Mary found the angel’s greeting troubling, and there’s no doubt she must have found the rest of his message troubling as well. She would conceive and bear a son, even though she wasn’t married. And even though she was a virgin.

She had to be thinking, “Joseph won’t take this news well.” And, “No one will ever believe this.” And, “My reputation is trashed, forever.”

This had to be one of the most difficult experiences Mary ever faced.

During this Christmas season, like Mary, some of you are facing difficult experiences. During this Christmas season, like Mary, some of you are dealing with unexpected news that’s troubling.

And like Mary’s situation, it’s hard. It’s stressful. It’s anguishing.

The Key To Mary’s Peace and Joy

But I think the key for us here is found in Mary’s response to this unexpected troubling news. At the end of her conversation with God’s angel she says, “I’m the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

In other words, God, I want You to have Your way with me.

That is the absolute best play for you and for me and for anyone dealing with unexpected troubling news. Holding on lightly to what we expect from life, and being open and submitted to what God has in mind for our life, even when it’s unexpected and troubling, is the best response for any of us. I’ve said it before, the people I observe who experience God’s joy are people who hold on to their own expectations lightly, and are open to God’s plans, even when His plans are surprising and troubling.

And here’s something else, even though she may not have understood it at the time, God’s troubling unexpected news was His way of showing favor toward Mary. Maybe, like Mary, you don’t understand how your unexpected troubling circumstance could be a way of God showing you His favor. But on the other side of heaven, maybe you’ll learn that it was.

And maybe, even as it was for Mary, this troubling circumstance will result in an amazing work of God.

Never Give Up

Take heart.

Hold onto your expectations and plans lightly.

Be open to God’s plans.

Put your hope in Him.

Say to God, “Behold, I’m Your servant Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

(You might also like Jesus’ Peace vs. The World’s Peace)

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