Summary: We sing the same songs, eat the same food, ignore the same people at dinner, and read the same story from the Bible every year at Christmas. But what would happen if we approached this in a Different Light?
Title: Christmas in a Different Light
I love this time of year… Anybody else? I love the decorations, the food, the smells, the sounds, I love it all...
I might be wrong… But I think the reason, or at least one of the reasons, some people do not like this season and some love this season is because it's the same every year. For some that brings back good memories and for others you just want to do something different.
We sing the same songs, eat the same food, ignore the same people at dinner, and read the same story from the Bible every year at Christmas. I can't help you with your family dinner, but what we hope to do is help you view the Christmas story differently this year.
We are going to read a passage we’ve all heard every Christmas for probably our whole lives… But try to view this from her perspective.
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, 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.
Let’s stop here for a minute. Mary has her life planned out… She knows where she is going and what’s coming next. Then all of a sudden a curve ball is thrown.
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.
Greatly troubled… Mary was greatly troubled… You think? She knows what ever comes out of that angels mouth next probably means her life is going to change forever.
30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid,Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him 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 Jacob’s descendants 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 on 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 unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.” Luke 1:26-38
What’s Mary thinking in this moment? What’s she feeling? When we read this story we kinda just think about this as common place. And I don’t know if you know this… But people don’t just randomly end up pregnant, especially virgins. She thought she had everything planed out… And then this happen.
Today we view this as good news right? Like the best news ever. But in that moment Mary probably isn’t thinking that. She’s probably scared, fearful, wondering why her, and wondering how in the world am I pregnant? She’s trying to make sense of it all…
I imagine as she’s process those feelings laying for sometime after the angel left, the realization hits her “OH NO. I have to tell my parents… I have to tell Joseph… What are they going to think? I with the Bible recorded that conversation don’t you… Mom dad…. I’m pregnant… But don’t worry, I didn’t do anything wrong. You see there was this angel… Talk about an awkward family dinner.
I’m not sure why God did it this way… But Mary had to tell Joseph she was pregnant before the angel visit him. We see this story in Matthew 1:18…
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. Matthew 1:18-19
At this point Mary has already had her visit… So she showed up and told Joseph: Guess what?! I’m pregnant. And I know you are thinking how’s this even possible? But don’t worry… It’s from God (say quietly and funny) Now put yourself in Joseph’s shoes… What’s he thinking right now? Yeah sure you are…
Here’s what we learn about Jospeh right off the bat… He’s a good guy, but he’s a normal guy. Joseph doesn’t just shrug it off and ya know what… mistakes happen. That sounds reasonable… No he’s a really human and he reacts as any of us would. Joseph reacts with anger, he’s mad and he wants out of the relationship. But here’s the thing… He reacts with anger, but he responds with grace. He doesn’t want to humiliate her… But he’s running the risk of ruining his own life with Mary being pregnant. And we see he doesn’t want to hurt her or risk her being killed.