Voices of Religion: Life changes, challenges can be overcome

Posted: Friday, December 19, 2008

Change in life is inevitable, whether we are ready for it or not. Yet it often seems the only one who welcomes change is a baby with a wet diaper.

If you have an old-fashioned calendar, you have turned the page for the last time in 2008. Many changes have happened -- economically, politically and in numerous other ways.

No doubt there were changes for you. Tragedies and tears, smiles and celebrations, saying hello to new family and good-bye to those who pass.

The Christmas season is a constant event with lights, decorations and festivities involving family and friends. However, the incredible changes that took place to bring about the birth of the Christ child long ago were amazing.

Change can be anticipated and expected, like the changing of the seasons during the year. Change can be unexpected and surprising, which must have been the case for a young couple in Nazareth named Mary and Joseph.

First, angelic appearances had never happened to them before. When Gabriel appeared to Mary to tell her that she will give birth to the Messiah, she may never have dreamed that would happen to her. Indeed, she was engaged to Joseph and dreamed of the changes that marriage, their own home and their future family would bring. However, a virgin giving birth was never heard of. (Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:23).

Then Joseph heard the report from Mary and was understandably troubled. Anguish, anger and acceptance washed over him in turn as he pondered the news of her pregnancy. Assurance given by the angel who appeared to him helped to acknowledge the answer to his dilemma.

The scope of the changes during the time of the miraculous birth is too numerous for this article. The angelic birth announcement to the shepherds about a Savior born in Bethlehem, the wise men from the east following a celestial sign to locate a newborn king, the jealous rage of King Herod and the slaughter of innocent 2-year-olds, were unprecedented changes that occurred.

The greatest change of all was that God was revealed in human flesh.

Jesus was Emmanuel, "God with us." His purpose in doing so was to provide a means of dynamic change for us. Indeed, the Gospels are full of accounts of awesome changes that came to many people through healing, deliverance and resurrection.

New birth is astounding and miraculous. A person can start over? We can be given another chance? That is the reality of what Jesus told us in John chapter three when he said that we must be born again of the water and the spirit.

It is not every day you find someone who will give you a second chance; much less someone who will give you chance every day. Yet that is what Jesus does.

This is wonderful change you can embrace with positive results and rejoice in the outcome, just as Mary and Joseph and a host of others did with baby Jesus so many years ago.

Mitch Glover is the pastor of the Sterling United Pentecostal Church on Swanson River Road at Entrada. Sunday School for all ages is at 10 a.m. and a Christmas service is scheduled at 11 a.m. Sunday, followed by a potluck. All are welcome.

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