Luke 1: 37
What do you think is the symbol of Christmas? Certainly the Christmas tree is a good candidate, as it symbolically points to heaven and contains ornaments that can glorify Jesus and the season. But a better answer is the manger.
We display mangers throughout our house all year (as well as crosses), but during Christmas season, we add more to a bookshelf in our living room. You see this year's display in the photo. (I like to be camel-forward in my arrangements wherever possible!)
For my Advent devotional series, I want to think about what the manger and its characters represent to us. Today, I start with Mary, who to me, connects the manger with hope.
Every pregnant woman carries hope inside her: hope, wishes, dreams. Mary also carried promises, as her baby Jesus was the fulfillment of God's promise to bless all the nations on earth through Abraham's family. The promise of a Messiah offered hope to people who were in darkness, seeking light.
The angel Gabriel indicates a promise about to be fulfilled in his last sentence to Mary when announcing her pregnancy (Luke 1: 37). It is an often-overlooked, almost throwaway line, and yet it may be the most important one, clearly stating God's power through His promises. First I give the NIV translation, followed by the King James:
For no word from God will ever fail.
For with God, nothing shall be impossible.
This is why we have hope as we look at the manger. No word from God will ever go unfulfilled, and nothing is impossible with God!
The manger fulfills one promise, while making another: Jesus is here to save us from our sins and open heaven's door to us! This baby will grow up to be the greatest teacher, the greatest lover of our souls, and most importantly, the hope of and pathway to eternal life.
As we go through life, learning faith and applying it in practical ways, there will be many ups and downs. But there will always be hope. The message of God is that there is hope and reconciliation and renewal in Him, no word from God will ever fail, and nothing is impossible with God.
Cecil Taylor Ministries teaches Christians how to live a 7-day practical faith, applying scripture to life situations. There is no better example than my book and video series, The Next Thing: A Christian Model for Dealing with Crisis in Personal Life. You can watch the first lesson for free by clicking on "Sample Lessons" at https://www.ceciltaylorministries.com/free-content.