Summary: This message looks at gifts given that first Christmas.
When I say Christmas, what do you think? The birth of Christ, Joy to the world, peace on earth and good will to men? Poppycock, when I say Christmas you think: presents, gifts, goodies. For all of the noble and pure motives that we claim we’d be awful disappointed if there wasn’t anything under the tree on Christmas morning.
Gift giving has been a part of Christmas for as long as we’ve had Christmas. Now we all know that it has gotten a little out of hand, gone are the days when a child would be happy with a hand carved toy and a big orange. Although if the truth was known that type of Christmas was well before my time and perhaps well beyond your time as well. Anyone have a Christmas gift that still sticks out in your mind?
Mary: We all know the story of Mary. Here is a teen girl engaged to be married and into her tidy little life arrives a heavenly messenger with the news that she has been chosen to carry the Messiah, she will be the mother of the Christ. Now I don’t know about you but I’m sure that I would have been a little sceptical. And I don’t think Mary was any different, as a matter of fact when the angel first appeared I love how Mary’s response is described, Luke 1:29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. After all when someone arrives unexpectedly and starts off the conversation with the words Luke 1:28 “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” You have to figure that they want something. And she was right, the angel wanted her life. What the angels suggested would change the way that Mary would be seen by her parents, her friends and her fiancé. And even when they accepted that just maybe she was telling the truth they would always look at here wondering: why her?
She would spend the rest of her life thinking about her response on that night. For the next thirty three years whenever she looked at her son she would remember the conversation that she had with the Angel Gabriel. This would be the appropriate time for me to interject my strange conviction that the Angel Gabriel was actually the Angel Gabrielle. Think about it, if you were God, you’re not by the way, but if you were God would you send a male angel to tell a teenaged virgin that she would become pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit? And a guy angel would still be a guy can you imagine him fumbling his way through that conversation. I know you are sitting there thinking, Denn you are a kook, angels are gender neutral, there aren’t boy angels and girl angels they are just angels. OK, close your eyes; now picture the angel Gabriel, boy angel or girl angel.
I just added that in case any of you ever doubted my sanity. And I want to know where the white goes when the snow melts.
Anyways back to the message, the first gift that was given on that first Christmas morning was actually given nine months before and it was the gift of Obedience. The angel, whatever their name and gender was, laid out the entire proposition to Mary and her response is found in Luke 1:38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to accept whatever he wants. May everything you have said come true.” And then the angel left.
Now understand that this was not blind unquestioning obedience. The angel said that Mary would become a mother, Mary wanted to know how. I really don’t think that God expects us to check our brains at the door when we become believers, after all if he hadn’t of wanted us to use our brains he wouldn’t have given us brains to use. Which would explain some of us.
However, here’s where the rubber meets the road, sometimes even after we’ve asked the question we might not have all the answers and yet we still have to be ready to obey. Listen to the conversation Luke 1:34-35 Mary asked the angel, “But how can I have a baby? I am a virgin.”
The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby born to you will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.
And here’s the clincher the angel finishes by stating in Luke 1:37 which by the way is one of my favorite verses in the Bible “For nothing is impossible with God.”
I think that if Mary had of said, “I don’t think so.” That would have been the end of the story, I don’t think that she would not have been forced into doing it. That’s not the way God operates.