CQ Synapse December 2013

Humanly speaking, the plan the angel announced was impossible. But with confidence in God, Mary consented to being an instrument of His will.

Unlikely Characters

By Lyndelle Chiomenti, CQ Editor

With the coming of Christmas, our hearts turn once again to certain scriptural passages that herald the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In particular, Matthew 1:18–2:12, Luke 1:26–38, and Luke 2:1–20 re-create for us a breathtaking story, which for Christians, never grows old or too familiar.

The main characters in this narrative have much to teach us:

Joseph. Because Mary was pregnant with a child he knew was not his, he had every right to dissolve their engagement. However, his final decision demonstrates not only compassion toward his espoused and her unborn Child but his dedication to following God.

Mary. At first, she was “greatly troubled” by the angel’s pronouncement that she was highly favored of God (Luke 1:28, 29, NIV). However, “as soon as sufficient information had been imparted to her” she responded by saying, “ ‘I am the Lord’s servant. . . . May it be to me as
you have said’ ” (The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 684; Luke 1:38, NIV). Humanly speaking, the plan the angel announced was impossible. But with confidence in God, Mary consented to being an instrument of His will.

The wise men. Tradition states that they were men of high position from an area near ancient Babylon. Yet they traveled thousands of miles to visit the King of the Jews. Not only that, they brought Him gifts and worshiped Him. They did not ask to see a heavenly birth certificate to prove His lineage. With faith, they accepted Him for Who and what He was.

The shepherds. Good people of the day despised such men, because their “profession” did not enable them to observe major portions of the ceremonial laws. Yet to such men a heavenly host appeared, praising God with the good news of their Savior’s birth. And with that good news, their terror turned to joy and they immediately left to find Him. Not only that, after they found Him, they went to tell others the good news!

So there they are―unlikely characters who exhibited the following traits: compassion; submission to God’s will and His seemingly impossible plans; faith; and an urgent desire to seek their Savior and to share Him with others.

This Christmas season, let us pray that these same traits will grow in each of our hearts, transforming us into instruments of His will, thereby making us also a part of the story, which for Christians, never grows old or too familiar.