Summary: Luke 1
CHRISTMAS GRACE (LUKE 1:26-38)
There is a tradition that Jonathan Edwards, third president of Princeton and one of America’s greatest thinkers, had a daughter with an uncontrollable temper. But, as is often the case, this weakness was not known to the outside world.
A worthy young man fell in love with her and sought her hand in marriage. “You can’t have her,” was the abrupt answer of Jonathan Edwards.
“But I love her,” the young man replied.
“You can’t have her,” said Edwards.
“But she loves me,” continued the young man.
Again Edwards said, “You can’t have her.”
“Why?” asked the young man.
“Because she is not worthy of you.” “But,” he asked, “she is a Christian, is she not?”
“Yes, she is a Christian, but the grace of God can live with some people with whom no one else could ever live.” (from Illustrations of Bible Truths # 936)
Christmas is often associated with words such as joy, peace, worship, praise and goodwill, but the first good news of Christmas is that of grace.
What is Christmas grace? Why is grace a strength and not a weakness? How does grace make life worth living? How do we embrace grace?
Cast All Cares to the Lord
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. (Luke 1:26-29)
Fresh out of business school, the young man answered a want ad for an accountant. Now he was being interviewed by a very nervous man who ran a small business that he had started himself. "I need someone with an accounting degree," the man said. "But mainly, I'm looking for someone to do my worrying for me."
"Excuse me?" the accountant said.
"I worry about a lot of things," the man said. "But I don't want to have to worry about money. Your job will be to take all the money worries off my back."
"I see," the accountant said. "And how much does the job pay?"
"I'll start you at eighty thousand."
"Eighty thousand dollars!" the accountant exclaimed. "How can such a small business afford a sum like that?"
"That," the owner said, "is your first worry."
Christmas is the best of times despite the worst of times. Soon to be rocked by scandal, reviled by society and rife with questions, Mary understandably was “greatly troubled” (v 29) or “dia-tarasso” in Greek - shocked, stunned and shaken. The angel’s presence, ironically, did not ease her mind or help things out; instead, it stressed her out. Six months ago (Luke 1:24-26) an angel’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth’s family, specifically to the husband Zechariah, was the talk of the town, a tall tale at best, a terror even to skeptics. Zechariah was silent and unable to speak (Luke 1:20), remaining speechless since until who knew when.