Our usage of the word miracle is often broader than its meaning. Like when Mr. Pipe's 5th grade band finished their first song in the concert, the parents called it a miracle. Or the time Mr. Paine, school principal, saw a week go by with no detentions for saggy pants, he announced "It's a miracle!" How about you? Do you know a miracle when you see it? And can you spot two miracles in this passage from Isaiah 7.14 . . . Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel."
The first is easy – Virgins never, ever have babies . . . with one exception. 700 years after Isaiah prophesied the sign of Immanuel, the angel Gabriel called on Mary to announce the impossible. In response Mary said, "I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be unto me as you have said." And just like that, at the Word of God, she conceived. What a miracle!
As miraculous as that, the second is even greater. He is Immanuel, "God with us." It is amazing that God without asking Adam first, fashioned Eve from his body. Yet even more miraculous, God chose Mary and announced to her what He would do with her body. "You will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High." From the moment that the Spirit of God came upon Mary, she was by the power of God connected blood, tissue, bone, DNA to her Lord and Savior within. She carried her son. She carried her God! She carried Immanuel! She carried her Deliverer! What a strange rescue.
Martin Luther once was telling the Christmas story to his children. Luther chose, as he often did, some colorful metaphors in his rendition. "If I had been one of the shepherds, I'd never believe the angel's message. For if I'd been God and wanted to save the world, I wouldn't have done it like that. I would have just called in the devil and twisted his nose and said, ‘Let my people go you old devil!' But God is amazing. He sends a little baby, weak as an earthworm, lying in the feedbox of a donkey. And that little baby crunches the devil's back and overcomes all power of hell, sin, and death!"
Two miracles in Isaiah 7.14? Luther talked about three Christmas miracles. One, that a virgin could conceive. Two, that God became man. Three, that Mary believed the Lord's Word. And for the sake of all who will read this article, for the sake of our church, I'll point out one more miracle. "For unto you is born a Savior who is Christ the Lord." That Christ came to save His people means that the greatest miracle is found beyond the manger. It is the empty tomb and beyond. This year through Advent, Christmas, and then into the New Year, let us continue to go with Mary and Joseph, and the shepherds and angels and all to be amazed at the greatest miracle!Pastor Kelly Mitteis
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