(This post is from the Learning to Live a Surrendered Life archive before it became Unwrapping His Grace.)
Over the past month we have been reflecting on Luke’s story of the birth of our Savior.
Week 1 “Highly Favored”
Today we are going to answer a question that our three-year old son asked me a couple of weeks ago. If we are celebrating Jesus’ birthday on Christmas…what does Jesus want for Christmas, His birthday?
What a powerful question from such a little soul!
No gift we could ever make or buy in the store can compare to the gift that Jesus gives us…saving us from all of our sins…past, present, and future…taking our punishment as His own out of complete love for us!
I’ve done a lot of thinking and praying about how to answer that question. How to answer him and how to answer it for myself and all of you.
After thinking and reading and praying…I went back to Luke’s account of Mary’s call to be the mother of Jesus. I asked God to show me what He wants from me more than anything else…what I can do or give Him this Christmas. The answer was right there in front of me all along…
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[b] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. Luke 1:26-38 NIV
And then I knew…
The gift that Jesus wants from me…wants from each one of us, no matter how long we have had a relationship with Him…is the gift that Mary gave Him on that long ago night…
The gift of our complete and total surrender of our lives, of our agenda. The gift of our dirty, revolting sins, the giving up of our control and handing over our lives to him with the “Yes” that He wants to hear…the “Yes” that Mary gave Him.
Mary didn’t say “Yes, Lord, you leave this to me! I’ll take care of it for you! I am so glad that my life has been found to be pure enough, perfect enough for your Son to be born from my womb!”
Luke tells us that her response was the complete opposite.
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. Luke 1:38 NIV
She responded knowing that she was not worthy. She responded as a servant to her Lord! She gave her life to Him…as she was…broken, imperfect, a mess, in desperate need of her Savior…her Messiah…and she knew it and gave Him the only gift she had…her life…her will…her complete and total trust…she surrendered it all.
If, like me, you have given Him your heart. If He is your personal Savior…the most precious thing that we can do for Him…do for ourselves…is to make Him not only our Savior…but to make Him the Lord of our lives. Every day, I am realizing more and more that this means to give Him not only the parts of my life that He has already transformed. The parts that I feel good about giving Him.
It means that the most precious gift He wants from me are the ugly parts of my life. The parts I don’t want anyone to see. He wants my brokenness, my deepest pain and hurt from the past. He wants my pride and selfishness. He wants my sins.
This passage has helped me to remember that even the “good” parts that I want to present Him as a gift are no more than filthy rags in light of who He is as God. I have to remember, that yes I needed a Savior when I accepted His gift of Grace for the first time and was given the ultimate gift of Salvation from Him! I still need a Savior today…and I also need Him to be my Lord.
I need to remember that I, like Mary, need to give my life to serve Him. I need to “be” and “serve” Him in everything I am and everything I do.
The pressure is off! We don’t need to, nor can we, make our lives perfect as an offering or a gift to give our King. It is our filthy rags of our lives that He wants! He wants to take our lives and give us a tremendous gift that He cannot fully give us until we fully surrender all to Him.
This study has helped me so much over the past month. Praying, studying and reflecting on the Luke’s telling of Mary’s story of complete surrender has reminded me of the gift that she was given in return…she was given her Savior! And she was filled with His Grace.
His Grace is an amazing thing! He doesn’t give it to us because we deserve it! He gives it to us because we can’t be saved or truly experience life now or life everlasting without it! Oh wow!
There is so much in that gift of Grace that is just waiting to be unwrapped! It is a gift…freely given to us out of the purest love that ever was…the gift of our Savior and Lord. He doesn’t want us to “do life” without Him…without His Grace. Without Him we are nothing. He is our everything…and accepting that fact and giving Him our lives with all of the messiness of it…emptying out all of the filthy rags we are holding onto makes room for Him in our hearts, our lives and it changes everything!
So the question is this…are we ready? If He is our Savior…that is AWESOME!!! The next question is…have we given Him our complete and total “Yes” and allowed Him to become Lord of our lives? When we do, we experience His love and grace bigger and beyond anything we can possibly imagine. We will be filled with His Grace! Isn’t that mind-blowing? It is for me!
God has spoken to my heart so much about this over the past month. He has taught me He has so much that He wants to give me…to give each one of us…He wants us to savor the unwrapping of His Grace. He wants us to remember that it isn’t just a word or a song or something that we received when we were “saved”. His Grace is here for us, with us, in us, everyday…if we make room for Him…not because we deserve it…but because He loves us that much!
When we give Him our complete “Yes” we are giving our selves a gift that cannot be matched. By giving up our own will to Him we actually gain everything! He has so much that He wants to do in us and through our humble testimonies of His transforming love so that He can share His love with the world! And we get to be a part of it! Amazing! Amazing Grace!
Now that is a “Yes” that changes everything…then…and now!
I want to thank you for joining me on this journey through this amazing passage over the last several weeks. Reflecting and praying through it has changed me…reminding me that giving Him my “yes” is a daily decision…and a daily gift of His Grace. I need His help to do it. He is here to help me…and He is with you wanting to help you.
I hope that you have found some encouragement through this devotional study. Committing to share it with all of you has forced me to stop and quiet myself and given me the excuse I needed to take time away from all of the flurry of preparations for Christmas to give me the time I really needed to make this the Holy Day it was always meant to be.
The question I am leaving myself with…and you with…is this:
Will I give Him my “Yes” for Christmas this year? Will you? Will we accept His daily gift of amazing Grace?
Starting next week, this blog will be re-launched with a new look and a new name! Next week, it becomes “Unwrapping His Grace”. Will you join me as I unwrap His Grace in the every day moments of life?
Happy Christmas, dear friends!
Come back and join me the rest of this week…
Tonight in an interview on “Thrifty Homemaker” in her Frugal Christmas with real Homemakers Series!
Thursday…Special ways to say Happy Birthday to Jesus during the 12 days of Christmas (which starts with Christmas)
Saturday/Sunday… A special Christmas message
Unwrapping His Grace,
Linked up with Celebrate Christmas at “Raising Arrows”