(5 minute read)It all feels like it’s happening so fast…my life is changing quickly; and in ways I never expected. Gabriel told me that I’m pregnant with the Son of God… But I’m a virgin! What will people think? What will Joseph think? How is God going to use THIS?! (Possible response of Mary from Luke 1:26-38)
Most people can relate to how Mary may have felt in the beginning of the Christmas story. When God’s ways don’t seem to align with our plans and our circumstances feel less than ideal, it’s natural to feel wary of what’s ahead. Scholars estimate that Mary was only a teenager when she was told she was expecting. Imagine a teen miraculously pregnant…oh, the judgements that would come! When I don’t understand what God is doing, I find myself asking questions like these:
- How will this ever be resolved?
- What good could possibly come from this?
- Why is this happening to ME?
During the holiday season, telling The Christmas Story is a common tradition. It’s a powerful story that has all the components of a successful best seller: suspense, love, mystery, and triumph against all odds. However, I’m sure two thousand years ago the characters didn’t feel as “triumphant” as they appear today. Mary and Joseph couldn’t have realized the magnificent story God was planning through this seemingly unplanned crisis. It would’ve been impossible for them to grasp their role in God’s plan to bring eternal salvation to the world through their very ordinary but complicated lives.
Isn’t that the way it is, even with our own stories? Our lives sometimes feel ordinary, even mundane. There are seasons that seem like there will be no good news delivered through our messy lives. Sometimes there is pain due to unexpected events, confusion over perplexing announcements, and the heartache of lost dreams. However, in the midst of bleak chapters, we must trust The Author to finish what He began. Ours, like His, is a continuing story of faithfulness, strength, courage, surrender, new life, and unending love. It’s being played out in each of our lives, a story that reflects attributes of The Author IF we allow Him to write His script upon our hearts.
Like the Christmas Story, our life stories hold significant power and have the opportunity to reflect Christ. However, it does take courage. I would think Mary wanted to hide at times. No one could have really understood her situation… a young virgin girl, engaged to be married to a man, then suddenly pregnant with the Son of God?! Imagine the emotions she would’ve felt. Despite her humanity, she stepped bravely into the call God had on her life (Luke 1:38) and her part in the Gospel story was fulfilled!
Stories are powerful. When you courageously share your story with others, meaningful relationships are forged. After all, throughout the Bible, God shares stories of fallen, ordinary, and unlikely people. Their messy lives carry a message that invites us into a personal relationship with The Father. As we tell our stories, authentic connection is offered to others, creating a relational bridge that Jesus can walk across. What a gift!
- When you look at your own life, how would you describe the story that’s being told?
- Do you share with others the story of what God has done in your life as an encouragement for them to seek Him personally?
Regardless of the “chapter titles” of your story, it is worthy of being shared. Every person’s life has an important message and significance. You may never know the impact of your story, but it is God’s to use for His purpose and glory! As with Mary’s, our stories should be told to praise the Lord and glorify Him for the work He has done.
“There are gifts so simple that they require no ribbons for wrapping, yet which are so miraculous, they have power to transform our lives.” (Clarissa Pinkola Estés)
So, this Christmas season, whether you are reading the traditional story of Jesus’ birth or courageously sharing your own, may you believe in the power found within The Gift of Story… and expect miracles!