The Gift: A Story for Advent – Part Four

The Gift - A Story for Advent

During the month of December I have the honor of sharing a beautiful piece of writing with you.  A dear friend in ministry, Audrey McCormick, wrote this story a few years ago.  She read part of it at a church service recently and I knew I had to share it with you.  I thought I would share it to celebrate this Advent season – as we prepare to remember the birth of Jesus this Christmas time.

However much I love Christmas, with all the decorations, baking, Christmas parties, songs, dressing up and delicious food, Christmas to me is about so much more.  It is a time to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  For many of you this is just a ‘nice story’ that gets mixed in with all the other celebrations.  For me and Captain America it is a special birthday, one like no other.  It is a ‘story’ full of miracles, of prophecies fulfilled, one that demands the response of a relationship with a real man, who lived and walked upon this earth in order that we could live our life to the fullest and fulfill our destiny.  It is a story of truth.

So read on, think on these words, let them wash over you and fill your soul

The shepherds had come hastily to see Mary and Joseph.  They were looking to find the King in the heap of their mess because it was in that place that the angels said He would be found.  In eager anticipation they had responded to the words of the angel, “Today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you:  you will find a baby, wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger (Luke 2:11-12).”  The very rags that Mary used to swaddle her Child, and the trough where she had regretfully placed Him, were the signs of His authenticity.  Mary must have been stricken by the sovereignty of God as the words of the shepherds unveiled the beauty in her messy situation.  The angel of God had revealed to them that the Majesty of God would be wrapped and hidden within her mess.  Such release must have washed over her.  The tight places of her heart must have split open as she learned that her imperfections paved the way for His excellence to shine.  While the shepherds admired the King and shared the stories, did she start to see that God’s plan for excellence was in the way He delivered a lowly King that they could call their own?  He was delivered right into their midst and He was already drawing them unto Himself.  Mary must have felt the hand of God squeezing her heart as her view aligned with Heaven’s.

Tears of joy must have fallen as she watched the weary shepherds – unclean, in lowly attire— stand confidently to receive their King.  In rags, and lying in a manger, He was approachable and meek.   They looked strong and beautiful next to Him as He lied in vulnerability and peace.  Her own words must have seared greater understanding into her soul, “… He has exalted the humble.  He has filled the hungry with good things… He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart (Luke 1:51-52).  And she must have been able to foresee that as He stood to grow, He would lift the humble high above Himself to be exalted above the things that held them down.  Already, this King was welcoming those who were weary and He was feeding the hungry with good things.

It must have been a moment of great rejoicing and commotion as the knowledge of God was being revealed.  As the prophecies were being unveiled and discussed, Mary watched silently while Truth washed her soul.  Going from strength to greater strength, she must have pondered the depths of these things while hiding them deep within her heart.

I am brought low as I see that it is in the lowly place where my Savior dwells.  For so long I have been standing tall, and running hard, with hopes that I will find myself under the beauty of His gaze.  Striving toward perfection has brought nothing but exhaustion and as I fall to the ground in frustration I find Him kneeling below me, ready to lift me up.  The King that I love scatters the proud thoughts of my heart and He exalts me as I lean into the humble place where He rests.  The gift of His excellence can only be received as I embrace my imperfection.  The gift of my Jesus is in knowing that my mistakes and mess are exactly what He needs for His story to be excellent.

Mary must have come to the same conclusion as she watched her Infant rest in humility and bless all who stood around Him.  And the song that she sang over her womb when her faith was first confirmed probably danced through her soul as confusion melted under the revelation of  His Excellency:

My soul exalts the Lord,

And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. 

For He has had regard for the humble state of His bond slave;

For behold, from this time on

All generations will count me blessed. 

For the Mighty One has done great things for me;

And holy is His name. 

And His mercy is upon generation after generation

toward those who fear Him. 

He has done mighty deeds with His arm;

He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. 

He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble. 

He has filled the hungry with good things;

And sent away the rich empty handed. 

He has given help to Israel His servant,

In remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers,

To Abraham and his offspring forever.

Luke 1:46-55 

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