The Word: Wishing you a Christmas beyond all that you ask

Published 5:27 pm Saturday, December 23, 2023

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” — Ephesians 3:20

The evangelist Luke describes the visit of the angel Gabriel to a virgin named Mary. Gabriel comes to Mary with great news. “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.” (Luke 1:31) Mary is confused because she hasn’t done anything to get pregnant and so she asks, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34) Gabriel goes on to explain but he could have just used Paul’s words from above. “Because we worship a God who can do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.” That’s how Mary!

But Gabriel wasn’t done. He also explains to Mary that her child will be the Son of God and of his kingdom there will be no end. How can this be? “Because we worship a God who can do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.” That’s how Mary! Gabriel even offers proof. Her relative Elizabeth, who is beyond child bearing years, is now pregnant. How can this be? “Because we worship a God who can do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.”

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That first Christmas forever changed the way Mary thought. In John’s gospel he records that Mary was at a wedding where they ran out of wine. Mary simply says to her son, “They have no wine.” (John 2:3) Now it’s Jesus’ turn to push back but not too much because Mary knows that we worship a God who can far more abundantly than all that we ask or think. Not only did God provide wine but he provided 180 gallons of the finest wine they had ever tasted!

It’s God doing far more abundantly than all that ask or think that makes Christmas so special for each of us. “God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4:4) That’s right. Jesus came as Mary’s son so that you can live as God’s son or daughter every day. Jesus came to live under the law so that you can be set free from the curse of the law.

So as you shop for last minute gifts, hang the stockings, cook the pies and deck the halls remember what God did on that first Christmas – He gave you far more abundantly that all that you ask or think. Celebrate Christmas and like Mary it will change the way you think! Peace on earth becomes real as we walk with a God who does far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.

Rev. Matthew Sorenson is the pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church. He can be reached at pastor@stjohnsfarmville.org.