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Summary: The story of Mary and Joseph in the first Christmas teaches us about the greatest gift that God has given to us - His Son Jesus, and salvation, joy, peace and hope.

PREPARATION FOR THE VISITATION

OPENING: Children Nativity Video Clip

INTRO TO SPEAKER: It was seven years ago today I preached my first message at BCC.

• The title was, “Love, Acceptance, Forgiveness.” This is still our mission today.

• When we came here, Caleb was in grade 6, Hannah was just starting Kindergarten.

• This year, Hannah’s in grade 6, and Caleb’s getting ready to graduate grade 12.

• Been through a lot together since then! Looking forward to many more years together.

INTRO TO TOPIC:

• Every December I tell the Christmas story but wanted to do something different.

• I’ve told the story about Mary and Joseph going to Bethlehem, the angels appearing to the shepherds, the wise men bringing their gifts to Jesus.

• I’ve never told the story of Mary before the trip to Bethlehem.

• I prepared the message, but it was still missing something.

• Woke up this morning and asked the Lord, “What’s the point of this story?”

• He said, “What did you just finish reading?” Jeremiah. God’s judgment upon His people.

• Tell the whole story of the Old Testament: First woman Eve, first Gospel (Gen. 3:15), God wanting to have a relationship with His people, came down on the mountain, they told Moses to speak to God, God gave them the law, they kept breaking it. God warned them they would be punished if they didn’t repent, they didn’t, Assyria scattered Israel, Babylon exiled Judah, then Jeremiah prophesied, “New Covenant,” Isaiah prophesied, “A Child will be born,” then we get to Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament:

• “Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming," Says the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 3:1).

• “Return to me and I will return to you.” (Mal. 3:7).

• “But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings.” (Mal. 4:2).

• “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. 6 And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” (Mal. 4:5-6).

• Then – 400 years where God was silent. No prophecies. No miracles. Just waiting.

THE BIG IDEA: The story of Mary and Joseph in the first Christmas teaches us about the greatest gift that God has given to us - His Son Jesus, and salvation, joy, peace and hope.

BACKGROUND TO THE FIRST CHRISTMAS STORY:

• In Luke Chapter One, we see the story of Zachariah and Elisabeth, two ‘pastor’s kids’ who are faithfully waiting for the Messiah. An angel appears to Zachariah and tells him he’s going to have a son, John, who will prepare the way for the Messiah, Jesus.

• Christmas is all about celebrating Jesus – the Saviour of the world.

I. MARY THE BLESSED:

“26 Now in the sixth month (of Elisabeth’s pregnancy with John) the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” (Luke 1:26-28, NKJV).

• Here we are introduced to Mary: A pure virgin who was favoured and blessed by God.

• Both Joseph and Mary were of the lineage of King David of Israel.

• The Lord looked for someone walking in purity and humility to be the mother of Jesus.

• Most scholars believe that Mary was probably around 13 years old.

II. JESUS THE SAVIOUR:

“29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:29-33).

• Stop and think for a moment about how Mary must have been feeling: “She was troubled at his saying.” She was a teenage girl! What awesome responsibility…

• Think about what it would be like to be a pregnant teenage girl: STORY: My sister Jodi.

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