Queen Esther agreed to do what Mordecai asked of her. She chose to believe that he was speaking from a godly perspective. She also realized it would be God, and God alone, who would keep her alive when she went before the king, uninvited. She chose to put her hope, faith, and love for God above everything else, above even the strongest desire of the flesh, food and drink. She asked her people to do likewise in hope that humbling themselves before God, putting Him above all else, would move the heart of God to bring mercy and favor so their lives would be spared.
“Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” Esther 4:16
Someone has said that faith requires a thousand deaths.
I have never faced the fear of death as Esther did.
To write from her perspective is impossible.
But along my journey of life, as God has been growing my faith; I have faced “deaths” to self; my desires, comfort, and agendas, that have required me to fear God and not man.
Even the seemingly small things I do can bring situations that I need to die to.
Whenever we do things that have eternal significance it will require dying to self.
This is a busy week as I get things ready for the Living Nativity. But as I take some time to write, I’m reminded of the situation Mary faced when the angel came to her one day.
In many ways Mary’s situation was similar to Esther’s.
Mary was betrothed to Joseph, which meant that legally and religiously they had entered into marriage, but hadn’t yet consummated the marriage. Mary was waiting for the “home-taking” when Joseph would finish building their house and would come and take her to their new home, where their marriage would be completed.
So when the angel came and said to Mary…
“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High.” Luke 1:30-32
Mary was confused and didn’t understand.
Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” Luke 1:34
So the angel explained.
“The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:35
This meant Mary would be pregnant while betrothed.
Mary would have been seen as committing sexual sin, perhaps adultery.
According to the Law, sexual sin was punished by cutting the offender off, and adultery was punished by stoning.
As the word from Mordecai pronounced an almost certain death sentence over Esther, this word from the angel also brought a possible death sentence to Mary.
When Esther realized that perhaps she was in the palace for such a time as this she willingly obeyed no matter what the outcome would be. Mary too accepted her position as a servant of God and willingly received the word from the angel of God, no matter what she would face.
“Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” Luke 1:38
These two young women found favor with God, and were chosen by Him for a specific purpose, at the specific time.
These two young women had a destiny to save their people.
These two young women faced possible death sentences.
These two young women chose to fear God, above the fear of death.
These two young women lived to see God work the impossible, accomplish the miraculous, and saw the salvation of their people!
In light of what these two women faced, the “deaths” I face while planning and preparing for the Living Nativity seem insignificant. Yet, I am convinced kingdom work has resistance in the spirit realm. When I consider the eternal possibilities of what can be accomplished through the Living Nativity I realize the enemy doesn’t want it to take place and will do whatever he can to stop it.
When we celebrate the true meaning of Christmas through drama and reading aloud the Christmas Story from the Bible, singing Carols and songs that lift up the name of Jesus, sharing a short message of the Love of God, and gathering together around cookies and hot chocolate, this has Eternal Significance! This has the potential of “saving” people! This is what I am committed to no matter what!
I have been encouraged by Esther and Mary. Their stories remind me that I have been positioned for such a time as this, and that as a favored servant of God I’m not alone as I plan and prepare for the Living Nativity. This is something God has called me to and I can look to Him for help, and I can trust Him to provide everything needed to make this Living Nativity a “success” and to use it to bring salvation to many! Esther called her people to join her in fasting for God’s mercy and favor, an angel came to Joseph to tell him of God’s plan for Mary, her baby, and him as her husband. The love and support of those around them enabled them to carry out the destiny God had for them. I too am thankful for the help and support of many around me that share the work and the joy of making the Living Nativity a reality!
It is my prayer as the Living Nativity is presented this Christmas that many people will come to know the true meaning of Christmas; that Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, will be born in the hearts of many!
Please come and join in this celebration of Christmas…all are welcome!
Saturday, December 16
Solid Rock Day Camp
37 Stephens Road, West Milford, NJ
Two out-door Performances
4:30 and 7:00
Each followed with Cookies and Hot Chocolate
Dress Warmly, Bring a Friend
Rain / Snow Date – Sunday, December 17, same times