In his song, So, This Is Christmas, John Lennon pens these words:
So this is Christmas
And what have you done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun
Following a year that has been full of insecurity, suffering, and general discontent these lyrics bring the emphasis to us; our ability, our effort, and our worth. This is where I often find myself. But Christmas is about the arrival of God coming to dwell with man.
Thousands of years before, Adam and Eve in an attempt to elevate themselves, had sought to become equal with God and succumbed to temptation. In that time God had promised that one day the roles would be reversed. The Tempter would be crushed and the woman would bear a great role in that victory.
So this is where our story begins. With news that would rattle even the most composed of people. God was coming.
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 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. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
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. 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. For the word of God will never fail.”
Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.
In your circumstances, God is present.
In your confusion, God is present.
Christmas is not a marker for what we have not done, but a reminder that God is present. Don’t get lost in the melancholy of John Lennon’s words but speak as Mary did, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”