Summary: This sermon deals with the grace extended to Mary and how it saves us today. The message includes the story of a young man who got what he didn’t deserve for Christmas.
AMAZING GRACE AT CHRISTMAS
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
27to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
28And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!"
29But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.
30Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
31And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.
32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.
33And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."
34Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?"
35And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.
36Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.
37For with God nothing will be impossible."
38Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
It’s Christmas time!
Unfortunately, we tend to focus our minds on the birth of Jesus
And the people who came to see Him.
The pretty decorations and the music carry us away.
It’s not uncommon for people to go through the Christmas season
And miss the experience that Jesus came to provide.
Today, I am going to look at the whole statement Mary gave
from a certain viewpoint.
I am going to look at her experience
to see the consciousness she had of what was happening to her.
There are many people who come to our church
out of habit or custom.
Your parents or someone else brought you to church as a child.
But somehow the spiritual core of the Gospel
has not touched you or moved you.
You know that very well, if you are honest with yourself.
Today’s story is about 16 year old Jerry Jacobs. One day in 1971 with Christmas less than a week away, he did a terrible thing. Jerry sneaked into his Grandpa’s room and took his handgun. Then he went out to the barn to do some target shooting with the pistol. In the process, Jerry accidentally shot and killed a cow.
Several weeks prior to Christmas, Jerry and his little sister were Christmas shopping with their parents. That’s when he saw exactly what he wanted for Christmas. It was a .410 gauge shotgun. That shotgun would be perfect for hunting rabbits. "If I could unwrap one of those," he told his sister, "my Christmas would be complete." She shook her head. "Impossible," she said. "That costs too much!" When Jerry told his older brother, he agreed with his sister. "You kidding?" He laughed. "After what you did to Grandpa’s cow? You’ll be lucky to get a cap gun."
Jerry knew his brother was right. Even so, Jerry still told his Dad what he wanted for Christmas. His Dad replied, "I can’t afford anything like that! You know I got laid off at work a couple of weeks ago. We have to cut down on our spending this Christmas.”
We know little about Mary before this passage of Scripture.
But we can give an educated guess
that she was much like other young people of her day,
and our day.
She was doubtlessly quite religious,
and attended the services and all that on a regular basis.
She prayed a form of prayer.
She believed in God in a general sense.
But now God is going to move in her life,
and she is going to go through a deeply spiritual experience.
How did this change take place in her?
Mary listened to the Word of God in a new way.
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!"