Summary: The First Family, Mary and Joseph, modeled the qualities of Thanksgiving and Joy.

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Thanksgiving and Joy

Modeled by the First Family

Luke 1: 26-56

As we enter this Thanksgiving and Advent season I want us to look at the First Family – Joseph and Mary – as a family that modeled “thanksgiving and joy.”

Luke chapters1 and 2 the background is given about the miracle of two births – the birth of John the Baptist and the birth of Jesus. John the Baptist was born to Grandpa Zachariah and Grandma Elizabeth.

An angel appeared to Zachariah, a priest, as he was taking his yearly turn to enter the sanctuary to burn incense. While at the altar an angel appeared to him and Zachariah was nearly paralyzed in fear. The angel reassured him, “Don’t be afraid, your prayer has been heard. Elizabeth your wife will bear a son by you. You are to name him John. You’re going to leap like a gazelle for joy and not only you, but many will delight in his birth.”

Zachariah responded, “Don’t expect me to believe this, I’m an old man and my wife is an old woman.” The angel said, “I am Gabriel, sent by God to give you good news. Since you did not believe you will not be able to say a word until John is born.”

Six month later the Angel Gabriel appeared to a teenage virgin named Mary and greeted her: “Good morning! You’re beautiful with God’s beauty. Beautiful inside and out! God be with you. Mary was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, “Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus.”

Mary said, “How is that possible, I have not slept with a man.” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you the power of the Highest hover over you, therefore, the child you bring to birth will be called Holy, Son of God.”

After Mary heard the good news she didn’t waste any time and traveled to her Cousin Elizabeth’s house. When Mary entered Elizabeth’s home and greeted Elizabeth the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leaped for joy. (Luke 1:42) Mary’s news brought joy to six month old unborn John the Baptist. Thirty years later John the Baptist would introduce Jesus as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of world.” Unborn John the Baptist experienced the feeling of joy. Unborn babies are not an "it," unborn babies are alive with feelings of both pain and joy.

Before Jesus was born he brought joy to his cousin John the Baptist. An angel of the Lord announced to the shepherds watching their flock of sheep near Bethlehem, “Behold I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” During his life and ministry Jesus brought good tidings of great joy.

Elizabeth greeted Mary and said, “Blessed are you among women, and the babe in your womb, also blessed! And why am I so blessed that the mother of my Lord visits me?”

Mary then sang out with a spontaneous outpouring of deep emotion do thanksgiving and joy. The song we call the “Magnificat.” Mary speaks both as a poet and a prophetess.

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Mary declares that she is bursting with God-news and is dancing the song of Her Savior.

Mary has an adequate view of God. God is Almighty. God is merciful. Holy is His name. God puts down those who oppose Him. God is in control of all things.

When you have a Biblical view of God like Mary, you sing forth with thanksgiving and praise.

We hear the story of the first family and all they went through to start a family. In spite of all the hardships and challenges we see in the lives of Mary and Joseph a couple that modeled the attitudes of thanksgiving and joy.

I. Joseph and Mary welcomed Jesus into their home.

Joseph and Mary welcomed the new born baby into their home. Joseph had to be convinced that his bride was expecting a child that was God’s Son. Joseph did all he could to care for his expecting wife and sheltered her from possible accusations and criticism. He accepted the unborn baby as his own.

Have you talked to young couples and asked them if they wanted to have children. Often they will reply: “Yes, when we can afford them.” Guess what, children usually come when you can least afford them. Our first son, Tim was born when I was in seminary in Wilmore, KY.

When Tim was born he brought mostly joy to our home. I confess that when I first saw him I was shocked. I was not prepared for wrinkled skin, an out of shape head. Slimy body, I thought, “Is he normal, is he okay?” Carollyn looked up at me and said: “Don’t you like him.” My face must have shown confusion and shock. I was able to softly say, “Sure I like him, he’s a neat package.” Later when he was all cleaned up he looked good – he had all his fingers and toes. I was excited with joy to be a father.

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