“God’s Son Is Given” (Isaiah 9: 6, NIV) by Carley Evans


For us, God’s Son is given.

He is our Prince of Peace, our Everlasting Father, our Wonderful Counselor. He is the Mighty God come in the shape of a newborn infant in a manger.

He is completely helpless, totally dependent upon His human parents to provide shelter, clothing, food, guidance, love.

The government rests on Him. He speaks in the temple at twelve years of age with authority which comes directly from God, the Father. He spends forty days in the wilderness with our adversary and overcomes him with the Word of God, setting for us an example. He goes to John the Baptist to be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove. Obedience marks His life. Again, He sets for us an example.

He preaches to us to love our enemies, to do good to those who misuse or even hate us.

God’s Son is given unto us. May we accept Him in His fullness.

“No Room” (Luke 2: 6 -7, ESV) by Carley Evans


Jesus is born in a manger because there is no room in the inn. I imagine Joseph and Mary outside, looking for a place to stay, a place for Mary to have her child. The inns are full because of Caesar Augustus’ call for a world census. People are on the move.

An innkeeper is kind enough to offer his manger to the couple. A humble beginning for sure.

I imagine other innkeepers turning Joseph away, not having a place. These individual business owners do not see the potential in this young couple; they do not notice the star glowing in the night sky; they do not feel in their hearts the call of God. They do not hear the angels singing in the distance.

Let us be certain that we open our hearts this week to the coming of our Lord. Let us recognize the star over Bethlehem that calls us to worship the Christ child. Let us rejoice in Jesus, our Savior.

“One Who Is Ruler In Israel” (Luke 2: 1, 4 – 5; ESV) by Carley Evans


Close to Mary’s ninth month of pregnancy, Caesar Augustus conducts a world census. “And all go to be registered, each to his own town.” (Luke 2: 3) Because he is of the house of David, Joseph takes Mary from his home in Nazareth to Bethlehem, known as the city of David.

“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for Me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. Therefore He shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of His brothers shall return to the people of Israel. And He shall stand and shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the Name of the Lord His God. And they shall dwell secure, for now He shall be great to the ends of the earth. And He shall be their peace.” (Micah 5: 2 – 5)

While in Bethlehem, Mary goes into labor and gives birth to a son — a son whom Pontius Pilate labels atop a wooden cross: “The King of the Jews.”

“For God So Loves The World” (Luke 1: 68 – 70, ESV) by Carley Evans


John the Baptist’s father, Zechariah is “filled with the Holy Spirit” as he prophesies that God “has visited and redeemed His people. and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David.”

Zechariah calls us to praise our God. We are to lift our faces to heaven, and remember how much God loves us, how much He sacrificed for us, how much He intercedes for us, how much He covets us.

God “saves [us] from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; [He] shows the mercy promised to our fathers and [He] remembers His holy covenant, the oath that He swore to our father, Abraham, to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.” (Luke 1: 71 – 75)

Zechariah calls us to “serve [God] without fear.” How? We serve God without fear because He loves us. “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4: 10) “By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as He is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4: 17 – 19)

The author of 1 John calls us to live out this love of God in our lives “in this world.” He writes that “as He is so also are we in this world.” We are to love our brothers and sisters in Christ and call the whole world to Him. We are to ring out the glad tidings, the good news of Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem, born of a woman from the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit.

Rejoice. Rejoice. I say it again: Rejoice. For God is come.

“Willing To Obey” (Matthew 1: 20 – 21, ESV) by Carley Evans


Joseph has a dream.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got some issues with believing a dream! I view my dreams with great suspicion, always considering them as NOT prophetic.

In Joseph’s case, his betrothed is visited by Gabriel, whose words to her confirm Joseph’s dream. (Luke 1: 26 – 33)

Where two are gathered in [His] Name, there He is also. (Matthew 18: 20)

Gabriel, who is the angel of the Lord, refers to the prophet Isaiah, who writes: “Behold, the virgin will conceive and bear a son, and they shall call His Name Immanuel.” (Matthew 1: 23)

Gabriel tells Joseph to name his son Jesus, “for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1: 21)

Like Mary before him, Joseph believes. I do think he confirms this dream with Mary, speaking with her later, hearing her report of Gabriel’s visit and the angel’s words to her. Gabriel’s visit to Mary comes before she “is found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1: 18) Gabriel tells her beforehand not to be afraid, that the Holy Spirit will come upon her, overshadow her and give her the baby who is Jesus. She keeps this to herself, sharing it later with Elizabeth. I see her not sharing it with Joseph, perhaps out of fear. After all, she knows she may be stoned to death, outside the city gate. But when Joseph finds Mary pregnant, he is just and decides “to divorce her quietly.” (Matthew 1: 19) He is kind and does not want Mary to die. Perhaps he also does not want her unborn child to die.

When Gabriel tells Joseph to take Mary to be his wife, Joseph confirms the dream with Mary. All that Mary has stored in her heart now comes out. I imagine her relief and her thrill to find that Joseph is also a faithful servant of God; that he also is willing to obey.

“Of Humble Estate” (Luke 1: 46 – 49; ESV) by Carley Evans


Mary says, “He who is mighty has done great things for me.” She gives God the credit and the glory.
She acknowledges that He is holy. She acknowledges her “humble estate” and that she is “His servant.”

Mary also knows that “from now on all generations will call [her] blessed.” In this statement of fact, she is not boasting. She simply acknowledges that “[God] has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; He has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate.” (Luke 1: 51 – 52)

Mary sings, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

“Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, His praise in the assembly of the godly! Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King! Let them praise His Name with dancing, making melody to Him with tambourine and lyre! For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He adorns the humble with salvation.” (Psalm 149: 1 – 4)

“You Have Found Favor With God” (Luke 1: 30 – 33, ESV) by Carley Evans


“For you have found favor with God,” are the words which come to Mary from Gabriel.

Here’s the rub — was Mary worthy to carry our Lord? Was there something innate in her which made her the only woman ever born who might carry the Christ? Not necessarily so. Mary finds favor with God. God chooses to bless Mary; and Mary believes and accepts the blessing. Mary has done nothing that we know of which qualifies her to carry Jesus except that she is betrothed to Joseph, a man from the house of David and that she is a virgin and that she lives in Nazareth.

Mary is not sinless. She is not born free of sin. However, Mary is the first Christian. She accepts her son as the Son of God and as her Messiah when Gabriel speaks to her. She accepts that she is to name her child Jesus and that He “will be called holy.” She does not fully comprehend all that is to be, but she gives herself to Her son before He is born. (Luke 1: 35)

When Mary greets Elizabeth, “the baby leaps in her womb. And Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Luke 1: 41) Elizabeth shouts “with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” (Luke 1: 42, 45)

God’s sovereign blessing and Mary’s belief are what qualify her to carry Christ.

“Beyond Mary’s Imagination” (Luke 1: 26 – 28, ESV) by Carley Evans


Elizabeth is in her sixth month of pregnancy when the angel Gabriel comes to Mary to tell her that she is favored to be the mother of God.

“How will this be, since I am a virgin?” is the only question Mary asks of Gabriel. (Luke 1: 34)

Gabriel’s response is simple, “For nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1: 37)

Mary says, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1: 38)

In this exchange, Mary shows herself to be completely trusting of her God. What Gabriel has told her is impossible by any stretch of the imagination. She does not ask how “the Holy Spirit will come upon” her or how “the power of the Most High will overshadow” her. (Luke 1: 35) She does not question that her son “will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.” (Luke 1: 32) She does not protest when Gabriel tells her that Elizabeth, who is old and thought barren, will also have a son and that she is already in her sixth month.

Mary simply accepts, even though she is troubled at first when Gabriel calls her “O favored one.” (Luke 1: 28) The greeting is meaningless to her initially, and only frightens her. Gabriel reassures Mary, telling her that she should not be afraid, that she “has found favor with God.” (Luke 1: 30)

Mary’s response is an acknowledgment that she is God’s servant, that He has favored her. She recognizes that God has chosen her for an unfathomable task — she is to carry God’s Son and name Him Jesus. Mary knows very little at this point except that she will obey.

“The Signs Of The Virgin Birth And of Jonah” (Isaiah 7: 14, ESV) by Carley Evans


God tells Ahaz to ask for a sign. But Ahaz responds, “I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.”

So, Isaiah tells Ahaz and us that God will give a sign. “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey when He knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good.” (Isaiah 7: 14 – 15)

The Son of God comes as “a great light.” (Isaiah 9: 2) He comes as “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9: 6)

When Mary and Joseph present their son as holy to the Lord on the eighth day of his life — offering a pair of turtledoves — Simeon, a “righteous and devout” man who is “waiting for the consolation of Israel,” sees Jesus. When Simeon sees the Christ child, he takes Him in his arms, saying: “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your Word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation that You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation for the Gentiles, and for glory to Your people Israel.” (Luke 2: 25, 29 – 32)

Simeon lays eyes on the sign which God promises to Ahaz, and which Ahaz does not request.

Simeon tells Mary, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed, so that the thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2: 34, 35)

Jesus is a sign that is opposed.

Jesus Himself warns, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” (Matthew 16: 4)

The two signs God gives us are the virgin birth of Jesus and the resurrection of Christ.