A Mary Spirit

“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David. He went to be registered with Mary, who was promised in marriage to him, and who was expecting a child.”

Luke 2:4-5, NET Bible

382990_10150416591029952_1485897219_n-2Christmas is only a few weeks away. Perhaps, like me, you still have countless things to do in order to prepare for coming guests. The physical demands on our time, strength, and resources can quickly alter our “Fa-la-la” spirits to ones of “Bah! Humbug!”

Scripture tells us that Joseph and Mary traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem to register for a mandatory tax census. Bethlehem was three days away, and Mary would make the long, arduous journey by donkey. Not a comfortable mode of transportation for anyone, much less for a woman nine months pregnant and expecting a child any day. Could the timing have been any worse?

I wonder what Mary’s words to Joseph were as they packed for their journey. I can imagine what I would be saying, but somehow I can’t envision Mary grumbling. After all, when told by the angel what God’s role for her would be in his divine plan, she communicated a sweet spirit of submission. “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38, ESV). Although, Mary dealt with the frailties of humanness, God gave her his grace for her journey.

Regardless, of what the next few weeks hold as we prepare for Christmas, let’s refuse to allow grumbling and complaining to penetrate our spirits of celebration. God promises us the grace we need for our respective journeys.

According to God’s Word, when we are faithful in the small things, God will entrust us with greater things (Matt. 25:23). Mary yielded completely to God’s plan. As you view the following video, consider this: What is God asking you to do? Are you willing?

Carry a Mary spirit. Christ has come!

Merry Christmas!


Sidestepping Death

“But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.”

Luke 10:33, NIV

Mom-2“Have a nice day!” the woman in front of me said to the cashier as she made her way toward the door. Reaching for my wallet, I stepped up to the cash register to pay ― then heard an ominous thud.

Moments earlier, the vibrant woman had imparted words of cheer. Now she lay motionless. Several employees rushed to her side while the visibly shaken cashier proceeded to ring up my purchase. Then, grocery bag in hand, I stepped around the commotion and walked to my car.

I felt horrible leaving the scene. I was morbidly struck by the ease with which my life carried on while it came to a screeching halt for another. Shouldn’t I do something?

That day’s dilemma may appear uncommon, but we step around those who are dying every day. Our problem, in general, is not that we deliberately cross the road to avoid the man in the ditch. Our problem is we never see him lying there. We engage in conversations with people continents away as we fail to make eye contact with the person directly in front of us.

The widespread malady of sin infiltrates our culture, and with stealth like accuracy snuffs out thousands of lives a day. It’s a shadowy, silent killer. Am I a silent witness ― or am I a witness at all?

The Samaritan man stopped to help his Jewish neighbor in distress. Racial barriers were no contest for his sweeping heart of mercy. He disinfected and bandaged the man’s wounds, brought him to an inn, footed the bill, and took care of him. He spared no expense, willing to give of his time and his resources so a stranger’s life could be restored.

Our day-to-day encounters with those who are hurting call for measures far less extreme, and yet we often fail to be the hands and feet of Christ. We underestimate the impact a random act of kindness, heartfelt greeting or friendly smile may have on someone’s day.

The parable of the Good Samaritan reveals the heart of Christ for those who are wounded, lost and dying. I must ask: What does it reveal about mine? Do I choose to sidestep death, or do I step into the gap to restore the life of another?

The Samaritan chose wisely. The Master’s words exhort us to “Go and do the same.”