"Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means 'God is with us." Matthew 1:23 NLT
Mary, a young girl between the age of 12-15, risked her reputation by being pregnant out of wedlock, shamed by her neighbors and family, and possibly even stoned for adultery. Because of her willingness to serve God, she will be forever remembered as the mother of Jesus, our Messiah, the chosen one, Savior of the World, and Immanuel.
"And Mary said, Yes, I see it all now: I'm the Lord's maid, ready to serve. Let it be with me just as you say." Luke 1:38 MSG
Her courageous YES, to surrender all to God, regardless of the cost, points us beyond Mary and directly to God. She willingly, without reservation, laid down her life as a living sacrifice to God. Mary was favored and special because she was chosen by God to physically carry the babe, the Christ, and our only hope for heaven. God was physically and spiritually with her, living and breathing, taking up residence in her womb, while being formed, shaped and wrapped in the image of Jesus the Christ.
From a marketing standpoint, Mary was branded with the highest level of branding the world would ever see, experience or hear about. There was no social media, no internet, no phones, and yet, God had a plan. No marketing professional in the world could have come up with the announcement of the greatest gift the world would ever receive. God sent an angel to announce the birth of His Son to a lowly group of shepherds, the nobodies of society. The shepherds shared the announcement with everyone they met. When you are touched by God you want to share the excitement with everyone! God uses that tried and true strategy today!
"That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior -- yes, the Messiah, the Lord -- has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger." Luke 2:8-12 NLT
Talk about real genius, our God takes the word to the next level! He is always doing the unexpected. He opens doors no one can open. He uses people who society seems to ignore. But His marketing is always the same, one person sharing their love for God with another. We each are given the opportunity to carry the presence of Christ. When we accept Jesus into our lives, we become the vessel that carries God's love and message of hope to the world. That is the meaning of Immanuel, God is with us.
One Christmas I bought my son-in-law some Purdue apparel because he graduated from their engineering school and he identifies as a Purdue Boilermaker. A few years ago, God inspired one of my sons to come up with the name of my ministry, Shaped by Faith. The family had been brainstorming for just the right name and thought it was absolute genius on his part to find the perfect name which was representative of the spirit, mind and body. It did not take us long to realize God had provided, and inspired, that perfect name. When I wear the Shaped by Faith name or logo on my clothing, there is a keen awareness, a mindfulness, to speak and walk in love, no matter how the flesh may want to feel or react.
But in all honesty, even without the Shaped by Faith name on my clothes, my branding for Jesus Christ should be evident for all to see. We should demonstrate love, joy, peace, forgiveness, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. No badge or logo will automatically produce these types of behaviors, only the touch of the Savior.
What brand do you wear? How do others know you are different when you are at work, school or at play? What will it take for you to say, YES Lord, I am a willing vessel ready to carry your love, your brand, wherever you want me to go?
Jesus replied, "All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them." John 14:23
The beauty of the birth of Jesus Christ does not end in a stable 2,000 years ago, but continues living in the hearts of every person who is willing to carry His Presence.
Theresa Rowe is the founder of Shaped by Faith, an author, health coach, motivational speaker and radio host. Visit her at shapedbyfaith.com.