Welcome to December. It’s finally time we can focus on Christmas. Christmas is one of the greatest love stories ever told. It’s about the God of the universe, loving you so much, He personally enters your world.
Scripture puts it like this:
2 The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death. 3-4 God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. MSG Romans 8:2-4
Now you probably won’t find that phrase, ‘…He went for the jugular…’ on many Christmas cards but when you read that, you begin to understand how important it was for God to enter our world. Sin had entered earth and created chaos. God sees the damage sin has done and does something about it. He personally enters earth to free us from the brutal tyranny of sin. When you read the phrase, ‘…He went for the jugular…’ thank goodness He did – right?
Again, Christmas is a love story. A story about the God of the universe, loving you so much, He personally enters your world.
Let’s jump into the story. Real fast for context, when you hear the name Elizabeth, she is related to Mary, the mother of Jesus. And Elizabeth was pregnant with John the Baptist, the one who baptized Jesus years later.
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. Luke 1
I don’t think we can begin to imagine this moment. It’s confusing. It’s terrifying. You are going about your day, and out of nowhere, an angelic being is talking to you. This angel, by the way, Gabriel, is the same one who spoke with Daniel around 600 years earlier. Gabriel is filled with the glory of God and not only can Mary see him, but he is speaking to her. Understandably, this moment shakes Mary up.
Let’s keep reading.
30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” Luke 1
Let’s stop and think about this. This is a lot to absorb. Mary, while you are doing your morning chores, take a break for a second, I want to drop some information on you. You’re around twelve or thirteen, you’re engaged to get married, and you are about to have a baby. This baby you are going to have is going to be the Son of God. He will be a future king, who will sit on a throne and rule forever.
What must be racing through Mary’s mind? How can she even begin to process this? Mary asked the best question, ‘How can this happen?’ There is no way Mary can make this happen. Mary isn’t from royalty. Joseph isn’t a prince. And not to get too technical, but how does a virgin have a baby? And so, ‘Gabriel, how exactly do ordinary poor people, who don’t have sex, create a king to rule forever?’ ‘Gabriel, how can this happen?’
Gabriel is introducing Mary to what God is up to. He is letting her in on what her role will be. Mary begins to feel the fear of not being enough. What Gabriel is talking about is so beyond her ability to create or control. It’s an enormous interruption to her day and her life. How can this be? How can I handle this? What is happening? How can I be enough for what God is doing? How will this happen because I can’t do it?
Did you know there was a lot of fear in the Christmas story? The Christmas story is so interesting because as beautiful of a love story as it is, it created enormous fear for everyone who was a part of this story. Mary was scared so Gabriel said, “Don’t be afraid, Mary.” Joseph felt fear so God spoke to Joseph in a dream, “Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married [Matt 1:20].” The shepherds were having a peaceful night and when the angels show up, scripture says They were terrified. The angel told them, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event [Luke 2:9].” When King Herod found out about a King being born, scripture says, “He was terrified [Matt 2:3].”
This December, we want to talk about how fear shows up in our lives. And more importantly, how do we overcome the fear that holds us back. What is Mary’s fear? She feels the fear of not being enough. Can you connect with this fear? Do you walk through life with this fear? I think we can all relate. Life has challenges that can leave us feeling overwhelmed. And when what you face is bigger than what you can create or control, you feel the fear of not being enough. It freezes you because you know you aren’t enough. There is nothing you can do about it. And it can steal your energy – right?
What are you facing right now that is bigger than you? What are you facing that is bigger than what you can create or control? What is it that freezes you, and steals your strength? Is it health? Is it finances? Is it your parents, your kids? Is it the pandemic? Your business? Is it school? Trying your best in sports? Friendships? Maybe the stage of life you are in; being single, getting married, thinking of having a kid, having kids, empty nest, retirement? Maybe what you are dealing with is from your past. Maybe you are walking through life with a wound that you have never dealt with or broken away from. This thing you are facing, whatever it is, don’t you want to turn to God and ask what Mary asked, ‘How can this be? What you are asking of me is too much, I can’t do it.’
Can you relate to Mary’s fear of not being enough? If you do, you need the story of Christmas. How do you overcome this fear? Let’s keep reading to learn how Mary did it.
35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. 37 For the word of God will never fail.” Luke 1
What did Gabriel say? Mary, you are feeling overwhelmed cause God is up to something. This is all about what God will create and control. And Mary, you aren’t enough. That’s the point. What God wants to accomplish can only be accomplished by God. And Mary, this is very important to understand, what God says will never fail. So, no matter how crazy this sounds, it will happen. Put your faith in God.
What does Mary do?
38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her. NLT Luke 1
When Mary felt the fear of not being enough, Mary surrendered her life to God and walked through it. She realized that what was happening was up to God to accomplish. What was happening was so out of her ability to create or control, she surrendered and put her confidence in God.
Have you done this yet? When you feel the fear of not being enough, have you surrendered your life to God? If you haven’t, you will probably continue to wrestle with the fear of not being enough and it’s tormenting you. Chances are you are trying to create something you can’t create. Or you are trying to control something you can’t control? And in all your attempts to make something happen, it’s probably stealing your energy and your strength. Worse off, because you can’t do it, it might even make you lose faith in God. Have you done that? Have you begun to think, I am so overwhelmed, God isn’t going to come through for me?
If you are facing something bigger than you and you feel the fear of not being enough, that’s normal. It’s what everyone faces through life. What does this young girl do when faced with something she can’t create or control? She surrenders her life to God and walks through life.
Let’s talk about how we face this fear and how to overcome it. Here is what I want you to do.
Identify the thing that is making you feel like you are not enough. That thing you face that is too big for you and making you feel fear, what is it? Put a name on it.
Ask yourself, what is this fear doing to me? What is happening inside of me? Am I tense? Am I angry? Am I stressed? Because of my fear of not being enough, am I allowing my emotions to hurt those closest to me? Am I shutting them out? Am I treating them with anger? How is this impacting my relationships?
Ask yourself, is there anything I can do about ‘the thing’ causing me fear? If the answer is no, if it is outside your ability to create or control, realize you are in God territory.
Because you are in God territory, do what Mary did, surrender your life to God and invite God to be God in your life.
Lastly, put your trust, your confidence, into God. As crazy as what you are facing seems, God’s words will never fail.
If you wrestle what I just said, if you struggle to believe, there is something you can do. Talk to people older than you who have walked through hard times. People who have been in God country with no ability to create or control a solution. They will tell you how they look back and see how God was there.
Let’s close with this. When you find yourself in God territory and you feel the fear of not being enough, that’s normal, we all walk through those moments. Remember what Mary did when God interrupted her life. Surrender your life and walk through it.
Prepare for next week. Read Matthew chapter 1 and 2. When you read it, think about Joseph and how Christmas interrupted his life. What fear do you think Joseph felt? How did he overcome it?
Do you have detailed follow up questions? Reach out to us.