Summary: Humility, surrender, God's power and plan
Luke 1: 46-56 (p724) Dec. 4, 2011
(Don’t read scripture until at the end of Introduction)
If you do a Google search for Christmas songs you’ll pull up around 55 million websites. But if you refine the search you can look under Keywords “Songs of Christmas” and narrow it down to 137,000. The list includes “All I want for Christmas is my 2 front teeth”, “Grandma Got run over by a Reindeer”, Frosty the Snowman”, “Handles Messiah”, Ava Maria”, “O Holy Night…and everything in between.
Some of these Christmas songs are stupid and silly…they make us laugh…others look at Christmas through the eyes of a jolly old Elf and his reindeer…some of these songs turn our hearts from self centeredness to God-centeredness , they provide hope, joy, peace, and love…
One of my favorite traditions that we do here at Fern Creek is at the end our Christmas candlelight service…Is we all stand in a circle, lights low, candles flickering we sing “Silent Night”. I love that song…and I love that feeling that for a small…powerful moment…we as believers in the real gift of Christmas, focus on that Holy Night…the Night our Savior was born.
As we prepare to celebrate that birth once again I thought about the songs of Christmas in the bible…and how could we start at any other place than “The Song of Mary”
God has sent Gabriel the angel to Nazareth...His mission, to visit a young girl named Mary, she’s engaged to marry a man named Joseph…both are descendants of King David. The Angel tells Mary “The Lord is with you” and the greeting alarms her…as she wonders what God has in store for her (should make us consider what it means for the Lord to be with us, huh?)
We all know the message “You will be with child and give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus”
And Mary’s response is predictable…”How Can this be….I’m a Virgin?”
Gabriel’s answer…”The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the most High will overshadow you…So the Holy one born to you will be called the Son of God.” And then folk’s God does something He often does….In our time of greatest faith…he gives us another person to share the journey with…He never makes us go through it alone…
“Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age….she’s already 6 months along…For nothing is impossible with God” Mary response to all this…”I am the Lord’s servant, May it be to me as you have said.” Mary then heads to Elizabeth’s home…listen to what happens…
Luke 1: 39-45 (p724)
Two women…one old and one young…both sharing the same journey, and both being empowered by God’s Holy Spirit….
Mary, a virgin is with child because God’s Spirit has planted His seed in her womb…and Elizabeth, a barren woman has been enabled by God to have a child with Zachariah…long after they’d both given up…Impossible..”Nothing is impossible with God”
It’s that same Holy Spirit that causes Elizabeth to shout…(as her baby jumps in her womb) “Mary, blessed are you among women and blessed is the child you will bear!”
“Blessed is she who believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished…” and Mary responds…
Luke 1: 46-55 (p724)
Its magnificent… the Magnificent…Its the overflow of a servant’s heart in praise and adoration…It doesn’t matter if this took place in June or December…It’s the proclamation of a Saviors birth, A Kings throne, a Redeemer’s rescue…A Promise Kept…
It’s the original and most beautiful of Christmas songs…. And something we should all realize…
I ONLY HUMBLE HEARTS CAN SING LIKE THIS!
My Soul glorifies the Lord. My Spirit rejoices in God My Savior. He was mindful of the humble state of His servant.”
Elizabeth had to burst out a Holy Spirit shout of greeting… Mary has to sing word of praise… Both songs came from the hearts focused on a God who can do anything…He can plant His seed in a Virgin…He can enable a barren womb to give birth…He is all knowing and all powerful…and yet he’s mindful of our “State”
[Only humble hearts can really praise god…because that’s what God’s spirit does to our attitudes… God’s spirit shows us God’s glory and power and our humble state in compassion… That’s why real worship and praise and thanksgiving will never be focused on contemporary or traditional…it will never really care if it’s a hymn or a chorus (yes, you may enjoy one more than the other) but if its worship…you focus on who it’s directed towards…not your enjoyment.]
Worship requires me getting out of the way…and “Ascribing worth” “Magnifying” God.
[I remember the story of a banquet where Sir Lawrence Olivia was asked to quote the 23rd Psalm..He did it with the most beautiful reflection and nuances you’ve ever heard…and then an old preacher got up and read it…His voice cracking with emotion…the pauses and weakness came through. At the end of Olivia’s reading was a thunderous applause…at the end of the old preachers was Holy Silence, tears and real emotion…someone asked Olivia what made the difference and He responded “I know the Psalm and He knows the Shepherd”]