Summary: Christmas is about the joy of salvation found only in Jesus.
Text: Lk. 1:46-56
1. Illustration: You cannot take Jesus out of Christmas and still have Christmas.
2. The same could be said about Christmas music. Most public school Christmas programs throw out any traditional Christmas songs that mention Jesus or anything found in Scripture.
3. Ironically, the Bible is filled with Christmas songs. We are going to be taking a look at a few of those songs.
4. The first Christmas song that we will look at is Mary's Song. In this song Mary expresses
a. Joy In Personal Blessings
b. Joy In Humanity's Blessings
c. Joy In National Blessings
5. Proposition: Christmas is about the joy of salvation found only in Jesus.
6. Let's stand together as we read Lk. 1:46-56
Transition: First Mary expresses...
I. Joy In Personal Blessing (46-49).
A. How My Soul Praises
1. Let's set the stage for this Christmas song. Mary has just found out that she is to be the mother of the Messiah.
a. Most scholars believe that she is only about 14 years old at this time.
b. Scripture teaches that she was a virgin from a small insignificant village in Galilee.
c. You might imagine that she is a bit overwhelmed at this incredible revelation.
2. Her response to all of this is, “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord."
a. This song is often called the “Magnificat,” the first word in the Latin translation of this passage.
b. Mary’s song has often been used as the basis for choral music and hymns.
c. Like Hannah, the mother of Samuel (1 Samuel 2:1-10), Mary glorified God in song for what he was going to do for the world through her (Barton, Life Application New Testament Commentary,245).
d. The term "praises," literally translated magnifies, means to "praise a person in terms of that individual's greatness" (Louw and Nida, Greek-English Lexicon, 1:430).
e. She was acknowledging the greatness of God and praising God for who he is.
3. Then she sings, "How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed."
a. As Mary journeyed from Nazareth to visit her relatives, she had much time to think about what she had heard from the angel and what she understood about God’s plan for the Jewish people.
b. When she arrived and Elizabeth spoke to her, Mary’s joy overflowed and she could say with her whole heart, “How I rejoice in God my Savior!”
c. Mary humbly understood that she was just a lowly servant girl chosen by God.
d. She recognized that what he was doing in her life would have a profound impact on the world and future generations.
e. Mary focused on God’s power, holiness, and mercy. Her insight into God’s character formed the basis for her confidence in him.
f. Mary recognized that because God had chosen her to bear the Messiah, from that time on (apo tou nun) every generation would regard her as one who was fortunate enough to have experienced this great blessing (The Complete Biblical Library – Luke, (Springfield, IL: World Library Press, Inc., 1988), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 45).
4. Mary declares that what God has done, and will do, in and through her by saying, "For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me."
a. Like the deliverance from Egypt and the miraculous escape at the Red Sea, Mary sees this event as another example of God's mighty hand working in behalf of His people.
b. Because He is the mighty king His name is exalted (hagios), i.e., He is distinct from all others.
c. Mary recognizes that she is blessed among women; not because of what she has done but because of what God has done.
B. Joy of Christmas
1. Illustration: "To get ready for Christmas, God undressed. God stripped off his finery and appeared – how embarrassing – naked on the day he was born. . . God could not be God-with-us if he wasn’t flesh... As evangelicals we have focused on the saving death of Christ but thrown out the Incarnation in our Christmas wrappings. As we cover God with Christmas, we hide what is most distinctive about Christianity. And this is the tragedy: What many don’t know about Christianity is that God has chosen to identify with their pain, their humanness, their flesh. This is what we’ve lost as we’ve exchanged the Feast of the Incarnation for Christmas" (Mary Ellen Ashcroft, "Gift Wrapping God," Christianity Today, 12-8-97, p. 32-33).
2. The great joy of Christmas is that Jesus came to earth for us personally.
a. John 1:14 (NLT)
So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.