Summary: Sometimes the Best Gift is the Gift you didn’t want that is when it comes from God. This sets the stage for the Christmas Event. Christmas only truly happens when we receive his gift and use it.
A Sunday School teacher once asked her class of children: “What is Christmas a time for” Many of the kids gave the usual answers – Jesus’ birthday, a time of joy, presents…but one child responded with a unique and unusual answer, “Christmas is a time for sportsmanship.” “Sportmanship?,” asked the teacher.” Yeah, sportsmanship cause it like when you lose a game. Sometimes you don’t get what you wanted but you still have to grin and pretend it alright.”
Everybody gets gifts they really don’t want – the ugly tie from Aunt Myrtle, the dried up candied fruitcake made by Uncle Charlie, a book on the life of a slug, a sweater that looks your great grandmother would wear it in the nursing home. Several years ago “USA Today” conducted a survey among adults to find out what they do with that not quite right holiday gift: 31% Keep it, 30% Hide it; 13% Toss it, 12% Give it away and 6% Return it. Every once in a while, everyone receives fits that they’re not sure that they want. But every once in a while the gift you didn’t want really turns out to be the best gift they ever received. Like Rosie this year she isn’t getting anything she asked for on her list from us, but I bet if you ask her after Christmas she will tell you it was one of the best gifts she received.
I. Mary’s Life
A. A Time of Engagment
a. Mary didn’t get the gift she expected or wanted either. She was but a young teenager when life took an unexpected turn.
b. Engage to Joseph – lucky – pleased with her parents choice
c. Plans and expectations – plans for her wedding, making a dress, making joseph a robe
d. To demonstrate the Bride’s purity – wasn’t worried but then…
B. Scared by the Angel’s presence
a. “greatly troubled”
b. There seems to be this notion that when God steps into our lives that everything will be “merry and bright.” But sometimes God’s intervention in our lives can be unsettling, disturbing, even frightening. That’s why angels tend to begin their conversations with humans by saying “Fear not! Don’t be afraid!”
c. Gone are the happy dreams of a beautiful wedding; gone are the days of sweet anticipation; gone are the carefully thought out plans for the wedding feast.
C. Mary was called to give it all before she really even God started. God called her to let go of her own plans and enter into His.
II. His Gift to Mary
A. Accepted His Gift - Mary could have said no, free will
a. He knew her
i. His Gifts are personal,
b. His Gifts are for the Kingdom
c. Realize God’s Favor
i. Not he liked her best
ii. Not based on who she was but on what he was doing.
iii. His grace – “unearned” and given by God
d. The Holy Spirit will bring the Gift to you
i. Don’t limit God’s gift giving
ii. He can use you if you trust him
iii. He doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called
iv. Take him at his Word
B. Become His Gift
a. Become what he has called you to be – It’s God’s choice
b. Be committed to His Gift
c. Be His Servant
d. Become his gift to other people
i. Mary to Eliz
ii. Eliz Mary
iii. His gifts are so that the body of Christ might be made real to others
C. Realize the Value of His gift
a. The results are Holy even though it might not seem like it “holy” child
i. Sometimes it may lead to pain or challenges
ii. If the Spirit is in it nothing else matters – keep him as the focus
iii. God’s timing – waiting patiently for God to finish working out his plan
b. His gifts are beyond the impossible
i. They are holy
ii. They are an act of God
iii. They defy explanation
c. His Gift(s) knows no end
i. His gifts are a fulliment of His plan which is for eternity
ii. Passes on from one to another to another –
iii. His gift keeps giving though Mary never knew it
D. Christmas only truly happens when we receive His gift and Use it
a. That first Christmas God became human
i. God became flesh” - Awesome mighty God became a little baby. The gigantic power that created the planets and flung the stars into space emptied itself into the thumbs and fingers of tiny little hands. That he might enter into this world to save it.
ii. He became human for humanity, that he might die on the Christ. But with his death Christmas didn’t end.
b. God’s gift continues in is he is still “flesh” in that we know like Mary carry him in the world to others. Our life is our Gift, God’s gift and it is our choice as to how we live it – we can live it as his gift, accepting it and becoming it as His Servant – doing it the way he wants, for His kingdom.