Summary: This is a Christmas Sermon about Mary. 1. Mary’s Hosanna (Song Of Praise) 2. Mary’s Humility 3. Mary’s Hope
Christmas Hope: The Story of Mary
I want to start off this morning by doing an exercise. Not a physical exercise but a mental exercise. I want you to remember being 15 years old. What were you doing at 15? Fifteen is an awkward age – isn’t it? You are no longer a child yet you’re not quite an adult. Hormones are doing all sorts of weird things in your body. Peer pressure is important at that age. Testing the waters of life is important at that age. Wanting to be independent is important at that age. Scholars tell us that that was the about age of Mary when the angel came and visited her and told her she was pregnant. In all likelihood she was between the age 13 and 16. If you were that age – and received news like this how would you respond? Let’s look and see how Mary did.
"And Mary said: ’My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy, As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever." Luke 1:46-55 (NKJV)
This morning I would like for us to look at three characteristics of Mary.
1. Mary’s HOSANNA
(Mary’s Song of Praise and Adoration)
Mary’s response is a song of praise to God. It was a verbal offering from her heart – through her words to a Holy God. Let’s read our focal verses again and notice where the focus lies – not on Mary but on God. The focus of the virgin birth is not on Mary but on the power of God. If we were to take out a magnifying glass and examine our focal verse – we would see nothing less then a song of praise to God. We would see adoration – we would see exaltation – and pure praise to the Father. This is truly a song of worship. This is truly a song of praise.
Praise is a verbal offering to God from your HEART.
I heard someone say recently that if the only thing God has done in our lives is to save us – we should praise God from the rising of the sun through the darkness of the night. But He has done so much more for us than that. He has given you the sense of taste – so that you can enjoy your favorite food. Praise God. He has given you the sense of smell so you can enjoy flowers or bread baking in the oven – praise God. He has given you the sense of humor so you can enjoy laughter – praise God.
On one occasion an orchestra presented Handel’s “Messiah” so beautifully that the applause was thunderous, and everyone turned toward the composer. Handel stood up and with his finger pointing upward, silently indicated that the glory should be given to God rather than to himself. That is exactly what Mary did. It is as if she were saying, “Don’t praise me, but magnify the Lord who is my savior.”
2. Mary’s HUMILITY
There are three key elements to humility: Do you know what they are?
A. REALIZE you’re not in Charge.
"Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?"
Matthew 6:27 (NKJV)
"Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch?" Matthew 6:27 (MSG)
There are some things you can change – there are some things you can’t change – what you can’t change – put in God’s hands.
B. ACCEPT your position as Servant.
"Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant."
Matthew 23:11 (MSG)
C. SUBMIT yourself to God.
"God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." Therefore submit to God. James 4:6-7 (NKJV)
Humility is not thinking less of yourself – it is thinking of yourself less.
Mary knew that she would now live her whole life under a cloud of suspicion from her family and neighbors. Embedded in her decision to be fully submissive to God’s call was the willingness to suffer possible ridicule, loneliness and contempt. God chose her and she submitted to His will.