Summary: A look at a piece of the Christmas story that is often overlooked and how it shows us how to properly respond to Jesus..
-it’s that time of year again, Christmas. There is a certain something in the air, that joy of people cramming into crowded shopping malls to buy things they don’t want for people they don’t visit. Ah, how we honor our Lord.
-but as we like to do every year, we’re going to go through the Christmas story. But today I want to focus on one part of the story. A piece that seems to be overlooked every year, it’s never in the Christmas plays, and I’m going to guess some people here have never even heard of these people, Simeon and Anna.
-but, let’s go to the beginning.
-Zechariah in the temple. I know, most people start later, let’s do the whole story. Zechariah is praying, doing his duty as a priest, when an angel tells him his wife is pregnant with a boy who will prepare the way for Jesus. Zechariah questions the angel and ends up mute, he can’t speak.
-three months later, a teenage girl named Mary who is engaged to a guy named Joseph is visited by the same angel. Except this time the angel says she is pregnant and she is going to have a Son, the Son of God named Jesus.
-she tells Joe, who probably doesn’t believe her (I don’t think I would), so he says he’s going to divorce her quietly. But an angel visits him too and tells him not to, that he will be the Son of God’s dad.
-a few months later, Mary goes to visit her cousin, a woman named Elizabeth who is married to a priest named Zechariah who hasn’t been able to talk for about six months now. When she sees Mary, her baby starts jumping inside her because he knows it’s Jesus. Elizabeth is so excited she sings a song and tells Mary how blessed she is.
-finally, after months of people doubting Mary, someone believes! She is so excited she sings a song too about Jesus and who He will be.
-after a nice visit Mary goes home and Elizabeth gives birth to a baby boy. They are going to name him, but Zechariah was told by the angel to name the boy John, so he writes it down to tell the people there, and suddenly he can speak again, which the first thing he does is praise God.
-then Zechariah is so excited, he sings a song of prophecy about Jesus and his son’s role as John the Baptist (although they don’t call him that yet).
-back in Nazareth, Mary is at home, but the Romans decided to do a census, and everyone must return to the husbands’ home town. So Mary and Joseph go back to a little tiny village called Bethlehem. Here Mary and Joseph show up just as she is going to have the baby, but because of the census there are no hotel rooms available, so Mary and Joseph go to a stable and there they have the Baby Jesus.
-this same night, there are some shepherds out and about, watching their sheep and an angel shows up, telling them the Messiah is born in Bethlehem. Then a whole host of angels (one of the very few times this happens in history) and they sing a song of praise to God about Jesus and tell the shepherds to go see the baby. The shepherds show up, see the baby Jesus, and they go throughout the town waking people up and telling them about the Messiah being born.