A note from Kelly King: What are your pre-Christmas traditions? Does it include baking, shopping, and watching a few favorite Christmas movies? I love this time of year and all that surrounds the season, yet most importantly, it’s the time of year when I focus on the “why” of Christmas—the birth of our Savior who was born of the virgin Mary. I’m in awe of Mary’s obedience and her willingness to say, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be done to me according to your word.” My prayer for you this Christmas is that you can relate to Mary’s submission to God’s plan and that you celebrate His faithfulness and goodness during this season.
My December “must see” list of movies are “White Christmas,” “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus.” The Christmas season is just not complete without watching them at least once before Christmas. Along with the “must see” movie list, there are “must play” CDs and “must read” books. My grown sons still expect us to read Santa Are You For Real? by Harold Myra on Christmas Eve. And reading Luke 1–2 is always a part of the Christmas Eve celebration.
All of my favorites are stored in the infamous red and green plastic containers. Unpacking the contents is as good as unwrapping a present. Each item has so many special memories from Christmases past and expectations of Christmases to come. This year when I unpacked the movies, “Yes, Virginia There Is a Santa Claus” especially caught my eye. I couldn’t help but wonder if my life is saying, “Yes, world, there is a Savior!”
Since it is Christmas, my thoughts went to Mary and what it must have been like for her as she lived out those nine months of pregnancy and proclaimed, “Yes, world, there is Savior!” As I reflect on 2019, I wonder what I might learn from Mary that could help me be a better leader in 2020 and help me in sharing the message of hope with the world around me. After re-reading her story, this is what I learned:
Mary found favor with God (Luke 1:30).
David says in Psalm 84:11, “The LORD grants favor and honor; he does not withhold the good from those who live with integrity.” The list of leaders that found favor with God includes Noah (Gen. 6:8), Joseph (Gen. 39:21), Moses (Ex. 3:12), Samuel (1 Sam. 2:26), and David (Acts 7:46) just to name a few. Proverbs tell us that a good man finds favor with God (Prov. 3:4; 8:35; 12:2). It doesn’t take long to see a pattern of “favor with God” and living a life of integrity, good deeds, and the fruit of the Spirit. As a leader, am I setting that kind of an example for those who are counting on me? Have I found “favor with God” by intentionally living and leading “uprightly”? Could it be that a life that “finds favor with God” also proclaims, “Yes, world, there is a Savior!”?
She lived by faith.
Mary had to be totally confused when she heard the announcement of the angel. How could she possibly give birth? As unreasonable as the news sounded, the angel’s answer, “Nothing will be impossible with God” (v. 37) was enough for Mary. Others who lived out that same faith include:
- Abraham, to whom the Lord said, “Is anything impossible for the LORD?” (Gen. 18:14), fathered at son at 100 years old.
- When Elisha told Joram to dig ditches in the valley for God to fill with water, he said, “This is easy in the LORD’s sight” (2 Kings 3:18).
- Jeremiah proclaimed, “Oh, Lord GOD! You yourself made the heavens and earth by your great power and with your outstretched arm. Nothing is too difficult for you” (Jer. 32:17).
Am I leading my team with that kind of faith? Am I willing to do what doesn’t make sense to the world? What am I leading my team to do that can only be explained by God’s presence? Are we willing to give up the norm for the expectation of the God-sized? Perhaps a life of faith is another way for our team to say, “Yes, world, there is a Savior!”
She was a servant.
“I am the Lord’s servant” (Luke 1:38). She was willing to go through the ridicule and questions that were going to come and serve the Lord anyway. She had great models to follow. Esther was willing to die for her people. Noah was willing to spend years building the ark. What am I willing to do for the Lord? Am I willing to take a little ridicule for my stand on biblical principles? Am I willing to spend my extra time building the kingdom? Am I a servant to my team? To my church? To my committees? To my mentees? Could it be that servanthood is one way to declare, “Yes, world, there is a Savior!”
She shared the Savior.
As the shepherds and wise men came, she introduced them to the baby Jesus. Every day people come to our homes, our work places, and our places of recreation. When they come, are we sharing Jesus with them? The angel told Joseph, “…you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:21) What better announcement could there be this Christmas season and for the year 2020?
As a leader, there is nothing more important for me to proclaim than, “Yes, world, there is a Savior!” His name is Jesus, and “he was pierced because of our rebellion, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on him, and we are healed by his wounds” (Isa. 53:5).
Gayla has been in ministry for over 35 years. She has served as an international missionary, pastor’s wife, state convention women’s consultant, and speaker. Gayla has published two books through New Hope publishing as well as several published articles and training guides. She currently serves as adjunct professor at Ouachita Baptist University teaching Ministry to Women and Bible Survey/Interpretation, is a hospice chaplain, and a women’s ministry leader at her church. She loves to go running, hang out with friends and family over coffee, and play violin. More than anything she loves to open God’s Word and share the love of Christ with others. Gayla has her Master of Divinity degree and is currently working on her doctorate degree in systematic theology.