Summary: What was the perspect of Joseph and Mary to the "Good News"
Acknowledgement – I found great value in a Christmas Sermon series by Darren Ethier – A fellow contributor to this site. His sermons are called “Christmas Perspectives Series.”
Are you talking to Me?
Perspective is an interesting thing. What you or I see is not always the same as what someone else sees…
Have you ever noticed: When the other fellow acts "that way", he is ugly; when you do, it’s nerves. When others are set in their ways, they’re obstinate; when you are, it is firmness. When your neighbor doesn’t like your friend, he’s prejudiced; when you don’t like his, you are a good judge of human nature. When he tries to treat someone especially well, he’s a flatterer; when you try it, you are being thoughtful. When he takes time to do things well, he’s a slowpoke or lazy; when you do, you are deliberate and careful. When he spends a lot, he is a spend thrift; when you do, you’re generous. When someone picks flaws in things, he’s cranky and critical; when you are, it is graciousness. When someone dresses especially well, that person is extravagant; when you do, it is tastefulness. When he says what he thinks, he’s spiteful; when you do, you are being frank.
Lack of perspective or a poor perspective often leads to tremendous breakdowns in communication, do you remember the whisper game. The first person whispers a short phrase to the person next to them and that person whispers what they herd to the next. By the time it gets around a small group it is changed or unintelligible from the original whisper.
When you don’t know anything about the subject, it you don’t have an overview of the subject or perception is limited.
Perspective is that word that describes the condition that many of us can readily identify with in our own lives but rarely struggle to understand in another. Perspective influences our actions, our reactions and sometimes even our lack of action. When we look at something in a certain way we have a certain perspective on it – one that is often unique to us alone and rarely duplicated in the way someone else looks at the same thing. Perspective depends on several filters through which it is developed: circumstance, experience, and character. Your perspective is shaped by the circumstances you are in, the experiences you’ve had in the past, and who you perceive yourself to be. To day I want you to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes or at least look through their eyes at the situation. Use their Perspective.
As we approach the Christmas season year after year each one of us have different perspectives on what Christmas is all about. However to a large extent – year after year – our perspective of Christmas risks being affected more and more by the HOSI factor than by any other filter it is derived through. The immense commercialization of the season of Christmas and saturation with Christmas "products" has led to the development of a materialistic perspective of Christmas rather than a perspective that finds its roots in the Word of God or any direct connection to God. Even the news talks about how important the day after thanks giving is for major businesses and the economy. They tend to leave out the reason that the sales madness started.
The Christmas Story is sometimes too easily replaced by the Christmas Store.
But how do we keep a "right" perspective on Christmas and the Christmas Story when we have so much that influences us otherwise? The answer is to let our perspective of Christmas be filtered by the HOSI factor of those who were there. Let the people in the bible be the eyes through which you see and understand the story.
For the next few weeks we are going to be looking at the Christmas Story from the perspectives of different people who were there. As we ponder how they viewed the events and the different things that occurred in their lives hopefully our perspective of Christmas will be forever altered and changed – maybe a little, maybe a lot, but nevertheless changed.
Today we are going to begin our Christmas Perspectives series by looking at how Mary and Joseph perceived the Christmas Story.
26 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." 34 "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" 35 The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God." 38 "I am the Lord’s servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her. 39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth.