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Christmas Encounters of the Close Kind: Rediscovering the Possibility of the Impossible

She stared at her expanding belly with a mixture of wonder and disbelief. Her pregnancy, while undeniable, swelled with impossibility. After all, she had never known a man intimately.

“Why me? Why here, and now?” she pondered.

An ordinary girl, Mary lived day after ordinary day humbly seeking to honor her parents and her God. But this was not uncommon for a girl in her position and culture. So why was this teenage girl from nowhere of any consequence suddenly overcome by the miraculous on every side, especially inside?

Listen once again to Gabriel’s greeting for clues. 

“Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you…Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God,” Luke 1:28 & 30.

Simply stated, she found favor with God

It’s difficult to imagine a woman like me and the Mother of our Lord having anything in common, but the truth is, we do. 

Mary was favored as the Mother of our Lord.

I am favored because of the Miracle birthed inside her. 

Yet I forget way too often. I spend most of my days visualizing life in the realm of the ordinary:

A picture framed by nothing but possible outcomes. Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth

However, if I meditate on the multiple miracles in Mary’s life-altering encounters, I find myself believing in the impossible all over again. When fully immersed in the story, I imagine each encounter: the sights, the sounds, the emotions. 

I appreciate the gravity of the angelic announcement and its consequences for Mary and the world, both trajectories forever changed. I wonder at the thoughts of a suddenly very lonely village girl as she quietly became part of the miracle her people awaited for millennia. I imagine the disbelief of a troubled fiancé and the relief found in a pregnant, distant cousin’s prophetic greeting. 

When I allow myself to get lost in the gospel story, something happens inside me. Not on the same level as Mary’s experience:

no swollen belly, prophetic greetings, or potential punishment by death.

But something in me swells. A joy and hope bubble to the surface in my slumbering spirit. And the reason?

Belief in the impossible 

While Christmas comes as sure as the leaves turn brilliant shades of red and gold and the sun descends with increasing haste, I often allow familiarity to frame the approaching season with possible outcomes

Tree decorating, gift exchanging, Christmas caroling, festive parties—all dearly sentimental to me—speak to the possible: what I can do to bring Christmas to life.

But when I quietly reflect on Jesus’ miraculously humble entrance into humanity, whether it’s reading an advent devotion, or an evening walk amidst twinkling lights, or whispering a Christmas prayer, the impossibilities of Christmas burst to life. 

Our unchanging God is still Father of the miraculous, and while I may never experience an angelic encounter, I can experience the same Savior Mary held close that first, star-blanketed Christmas night.

Nestled in the hay with endless emotion surely pulsing through her weary body, Mary treasured that silent night as she held humanity’s Redemption.  

But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart,
Luke 2:19.

And we can too. So this Christmas, will you join me? Will you commit to rediscovering the impossible made possible by a merciful God, a loving Savior, and a willing village girl?

Together, let’s relish quiet moments with an Advent devotion*, or savor a few Scriptures surrounding our Savior’s birth daily, or listen with me to The Quiet Collection by Emily Freeman.

This Christmas may we discover—maybe for the first time—what Mary experienced first-hand,

“Nothing is impossible with God,”  Luke 1:47.

*Suggestions for Advent Devotions:

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