3-Week Series: Double Blessing

Sermons

Summary: People have varying reactions to Christmas. For many, Christmas is a happy, festive time spent with family and friends. But for some it's a sad, lonely time. For others, it invokes anger because of painful memories. But what about those associated with that first Christmas?

CHRISTMAS REACTIONS

People have varying reactions to Christmas. For many, Christmas is a happy time-parties, decorating, giving and receiving gifts and time with family and friends. But for some it's a sad, lonely time. For others, it invokes anger, perhaps because of some not so nice Christmases in their past. But what about those who were associated with that first Christmas?

1) Mary.

Luke 1:26-38, "In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 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, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 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. 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. For nothing is impossible with God.” “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her."

Mary's response to the birth announcement given by the angel Gabriel has been described as submissive confusion. I think that's a good description. Mary was confused and inquired as to how this would be possible since she was a virgin. I think every woman would've asked that question; it's a completely reasonable question to ask.

And, since Gabriel explained how it was going to be possible it shows that God is okay with us asking questions. Sometimes we get an explanation like Mary did and sometimes we don't. When we don't we would simply be challenged to trust and obey.

But even though Mary had been given an explanation she would still need to trust and obey. Mary being chosen to bear the Son of God, the Savior of the world, was a magnificent blessing. It's not that Mary would've disagreed with this newly discovered favor but we don't see her jumping up and down screaming, awesomesauce! Although this would be the best thing that ever happened to the world it was still a lot to take in. And though it was something wonderful it was still scary; all things considered.

But later when Jesus was born and the shepherds went to the manger and no doubt told her and Joseph all of what happened when the angels appeared to them it says in Luke 2:19 that Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. So Mary came to treasure this wonderful news and exceptional child but in the immediacy of the announcement she was sure to be more confused than joyous.

And if she thought about the next phase she was probably more scared than excited. How would Joseph respond? What was her family going to think? How will the townspeople react? Even though she received an answer for the 'how can this be' question, there were still unanswered questions.

And even though she was given an explanation that didn't mean it all made sense now. But we don't see Mary asking any other questions. What we do see is her statement of submission. "I am the Lord's servant. May it be done as you have said." Her confusion was met with submission.

We might find ourselves in situations that don't make sense. It may be something good but confusing just the same. We ask the Lord for some clarification and maybe he gives us some. That doesn't mean it will all make sense, but it will be all we need to know at that time. Gabriel could've expounded greatly on his answer but he didn't. Mary was given certain details but not all of them.

Sometimes we will be given certain details but we may not be given every detail. This would be a test. Will we accept the answer given? How will we deal with not having all the details? For some people that is difficult to accept. They have questions and if they don't get satisfactory answers to all their questions they will not believe. If it doesn't make sense I cannot accept it. I have to have my concerns alleviated before I can move forward in my pursuit or relationship with God.

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