Even though it is close to the end of December, I would still like to recommend a book to you. It is called “The Greatest Gift… Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas” by Ann Voskamp. She also wrote another great book called “One Thousand Gifts”. Ann begins each chapter with a section of scripture and then adds her own thoughts which I truly have loved; they are so full of truth. At the end of each chapter, she also includes an action step and some reflection questions to encourage you to go deeper. This book was meant to be read in the month of December; however I think the devotionals and nuggets of truth are so strong that it can be read any time of the year.
There are so many amazing chapters in this book that I would love to share with you. Because of time, let me share today’s devotional reading; it was Luke 1:26-38 where the angel appears to Mary to share with her that she has been chosen to carry Jesus. First of all, let me start off by saying that I am so in awe of Mary and her response to the angel’s news. She says, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” Her response is amazing to me; it is a complete surrender to God even when the circumstances did not make sense. I don’t know about you but I would have lots more questions like how will Joseph react to this news and will he still want to marry me. Or what will the whole town think and how do I explain this… but instead she allowed God to use her in an amazing way because of her willingness to say yes. In her book, Ann says, “Your greatest gift is not your gifts, but your surrendered yes to be a space for God.” Ann encourages us to make space. This is such a busy time of year with so many items on our to do list that sometimes we forget to make space for how God wants to use us this Christmas. My challenge for you in these last couple days before Christmas is to make space and be open to how God can use you- it could be simply encouraging another person either a friend or stranger, it could be giving to someone in need, it could be extending love and forgiveness to someone that has hurt you, or it could be welcoming someone into your home for the Holidays. I don’t know the exact details but I know God wants us to be willing to say yes just like Mary modeled to us.
I love the way Ann says it in her book, “There is no need to produce or perform or perfect- simply become a place for God. That is all.” If we are all honest, we have tried to either produce more, perform better or be perfect. It just leaves us exhausted and unfulfilled because this is not God’s desire for us. In the previous chapter, Ann says this, “You are most prepared for Christmas when you are done trying to make your performance into the gift and instead revel in His presence as the Gift.” What does God want for Christmas this year- He wants you! He wants you to accept his gift of Jesus and let Him be your Savior and Lord of your life. He also wants you to shine brightly for him by using your gifts He has given you to show others Christ’s love and forgiveness!! In her book, Ann says, “You’ve got to use the life you’ve been given to give others life.” I just love this!
My prayer for all of us is that we can truly remember God’s love story to us this Christmas and our focus will be on the special gift of Jesus. I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas!! Remember God loves you so much!!