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Summary: Christmas sermon

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Lead Characters in a Christmas Drama: A Willing Heart

Luke 1: 46-55

We are talking about the characters from the original Christmas Drama. Those people that God chose to play the roles. Last week we took a good look at Joseph the man who acted as the earthly father of Jesus. This week we are looking at the person chosen to play the mother of Jesus.

The casting call might have read something like this: Must be young, from an average family, willing to be misunderstood, willing to suffer pain on both ends of your sons life, willing to watch your son be born in a stable, and must be willing to watch him be tortured and die in 33 years. Oh and one other thing, you must be a virgin. Mary was chosen by God to play out a role that has left her a place in history. She accepts the role and the drama begins.

The months between the announcement of Christ’s birth and the actual moment of His arrival were months of hard decisions and anxious waiting on the part of Mary and Joseph. However, as difficult a time as it surely was, it is still fascinating to watch Mary and see how she conducted herself. In this passage, she has made the journey to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who is also expecting a very special baby, John The Baptist.

When Mary arrives at her cousins house and speaks to Elizabeth, the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leaps for joy. Elizabeth responds by telling Mary that she is blessed because she has believed the Lord and that God will do all that He has said He will do to and through her life. Hearing this, Mary, even though she is young, unmarried and pregnant, begins to lift her voice in praise to God.

She reveals a heart that is in love with God and also a mind that has been saturated with Old Testament Scriptures. She teaches us that we can be thankful and full of praise to God in spite of our circumstances at the moment. She also is demonstrating that God’s grace is sufficient even in the most troubled times. Mary’s great song of praise has come to be known as the Magnificat. This is the Latin translation of the first few words which Mary speaks and it literally means, "My soul celebrates the Lord."

This is a hymn of worship to God. It reminds us today that the birth of Jesus is about far more than gifts, trees, Santa Claus, Rudolph, Frosty, and my personal favorite, the Grinch. The Christmas season is about our relationship with God and about learning to celebrate His grace and His goodness. What did Mary have to sing about? Why was she worshipping God at this time in her life?

Mary sang about grace. Grace is the word the bible uses to describe what Jesus Christ does in our lives when we accept His great gift of salvation. What is this grace that would cause a young lady to sing? She is pregnant, and nobody really is going to believe that she is going to have a legitimate birth. Nobody believes that something didn’t happen prior to marriage that shouldn’t have. She sings anyway. She worships anyway. Here’s why:

1. Mary Celebrated Personal Grace Verses 46-49

She had been redeemed, regarded and rewarded

46And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord 47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49for the Mighty One has done great things for me -- holy is his name. Luke 1: 46-49

This church is really made up of two major groups of people. There are those of us who have grown up in church or been around it for quite a long time. We have been taught and preached to about the God, salvation, Jesus and even all the great stories of the Bible. Many of us grew up in homes and churches where we learned the message of salvation and how it would change your life if you would just accept Christ as your Savior and follow Him.

Then there is another group. You weren’t raised around Christianity or you haven’t thought about it for a long time. You know you have done things in your life that are not right. In fact, some of you may have done some of those things this very week. You feel sometimes like you don’t belong here. You question if you will ever be able to live up to what the Bible says. You love to be here and it makes you feel good and you are even able to forget some of the discouraging things that are going on in your life for the few minutes you are here.

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