Fourth Week of Advent: Thursday



“The Gifts of Christmas”

This selection is based on Luke 1:39-45, which is part of our reading for today.

What God gave us at Christmas was not just his Son. He gave us a Truth–a Truth that transforms us when we take it in. What God gave us a Christmas is a whole new life (35).

In the first chapter of Luke, Elizabeth says, “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished” (NIV). Elizabeth is saying to Mary–and to us–“if you really believe what the angel told you about this baby, if you take it in, you’ll be blessed.”

But our English word “blessed” is so limp and lightweight. In English we use blessed to mean something like “inspired.” But in the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, the word for blessed meant something much deeper than that. To be blessed brings you back to full shalom, full human functioning; it makes you everything God meant for you to be. To be blessed is to be strengthened and repaired in every one of your human capacities, to be utterly transformed.

What Elizabeth is saying to Mary, and what Luke is saying to us is, “Do you believe that this beautiful idea of the incarnation will really happen? If you believe it, and if you will take into the center of your life, you’re blessed, transformed, utterly changed” (36).

Selection adapted from “Mary,” a sermon by Tim Keller, included in Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus, edited by Nancy Guthrie.

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