by Mike Durbin
PLYMOUTH, MI – Snowflakes are falling and so too is the temperature. We are quickly approaching what the classic song calls, “...the most wonderful time of the year!” A recent headline caught my attention, “Hallmark Is Premiering 40 All-New Christmas Movies This Year.” Shar and I have already watched one and I suspect there will be many more in the days to come - something like 39 more!
That’s ok. I’ll watch all the boy-meets-girl as they tackle some impending difficulty and fall-in-love movies that Shar wants. She knows, however, that at some point I’ll have cried too much and will need to interject an action movie filled with international intrigue, clandestine operations, and the fate of the world hanging in the balance. Something that starts perhaps with the familiar words: “Your mission should you choose to accept it....” Oh yeah!
The Mission Impossible movies are just as make-believe as the Hallmark ones and yet there’s something about the storyline of love overcoming difficulty or good overcoming evil that draws us to them. God wired us that way. That may be why so many people love the Christmas season. It is the ultimate declaration that love overcomes and that good triumphs. Unlike the movies, Christmas is real. It is real people experiencing a real God on Mission Possible to save us from our sins.
No one experiences Christmas quite like Mary, the mother of Jesus. Christmas starts for her when the angel Gabriel appears to her and tells her that she’s going to have a baby. It’s a conversation that’s going to change the world, especially her world. As they talk, Gabriel says: “for nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). Mary is going to experience the truth of these words over and over again in her life.
“For nothing will be impossible with God,” is a refrain God writes on her heart. It’s a promise that He will be with her wherever she goes, whatever she faces, or whoever she encounters. It’s a promise that will sustain her all the way from the cradle to the cross.
God’s promises make the difference in how we face life’s difficult moments. They strengthen us and sustain us. Gabriel tells Mary that she is blessed among women, but that doesn’t mean that her life would always be easy or without pain. In the same passage, the “blessed” one becomes the one “troubled” in heart.
During that first Christmas season, Mary will survive the talk of the town about her pregnancy, giving birth to her firstborn son where they kept the animals, and fleeing to Egypt to escape the madness of Herod. These are not painless experiences, but in everything she goes through, Mary knows that “nothing will be impossible with God.” She will rely upon Him for strength when she has none, direction for when she doesn’t know where to turn, and comfort when she is troubled.
For most of us, this Christmas is going to be different than any we’ve ever experienced. COVID-19 has guaranteed that. We’re being asked to stay home and minimize our contacts with others to as small a bubble as possible. Hopefully this will be our first and only virtual Christmas. We’ll make the best of it. Though it will be different, we can still experience Christ. Nothing can take Him from us. Somehow, some way, despite all that is happening in the world, we will experience Christmas because, “Nothing will be impossible with God.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Durbin is the State Evangelism Director for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Before joining the state convention staff, Mike served as Church Planting Catalyst and Director of Missions in Metro Detroit since 2007. He also has served as a pastor and bi-vocational pastor in Michigan, as well as International Missionary to Brazil.