Every year when I read the Christmas Story from Luke’s account, I linger over this one sentence that seems so oddly placed: “For nothing shall be impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37) That the angel should give such a sweeping pronouncement in the middle of back-to-back baby announcements seems oddly dramatic. But for these women whose lives are about to be abruptly re-written, it is not only a clarion call of restoration for the world, but an assurance straight to their hearts.
To the older woman married for years, already resigned to life as it is, her dreams wrestled into silence years ago, the Word of the Lord comes. To the young woman still in her father’s house with her whole life out in front of her, the Word of the Lord comes. To each the impossible message from the Lord is given– intimate, unexpected, and marvelous. To each the terrifying challenge is given to reach out and grow into new places. I can’t help but think that the angel laughed at the ridiculous joy of his news. The Almighty One stoops to enter the ordinary, the everyday blood and body of a woman…and there are no more barriers between the holy and the mundane, between what is possible and what is not. God will Himself accomplish His purposes in hearts that are willing, and our lives will no longer be limited to what we can see and touch and make sense of. “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19) Something new in the ordinary endless dust of our Everyday.
To us also, the angel’s message comes at Christmas for all the impossible circumstances we live with. For the bad habits we are trying hard to break; for the complicated relationships that we keep trying to fix; for the ways we cope and cover up and distract from what really matters; for the fragility of these bodies and spirits, and the dark fears that creep at night; for all these, the joyful song blows on the wind: Nothing shall be impossible from now on, because your Maker has come! In all the hard rocky ways we limp through this world, and the griefs that weigh heavy, still there is this announcement that everything can change. And we sing, “Joy to the world, the Lord has come. Let earth receive her King!” We may not see the fulfillment of His plans just yet, but the Almighty One sees us and has come to help, and nothing is truly impossible any more.
Nothing shall be impossible because He is at work, and who can stop Him? Nothing shall be impossible….“for those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” (Romans 8:14) Nothing shall be impossible…. for “in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” (Romans 8:28) Nothing shall be impossible….for “he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies.” (Romans 8:11) Nothing shall be impossible….“for we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:32)
For all our impossible things, a Savior was born on a night long ago in Bethlehem. “O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.”
“The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: “I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.” (Isaiah 57:15)
“There is no place I can go
Where you don’t already know
How to reach right down and pull me out
I need you…
There is no fight left
On the inside
But maybe that’s where I should be
I’ve given up tryin’
I’m giving it all to you.”
(No Fight Left, JJ Heller)