Summary: Focuses on Mary and her faith so we might be able to have faith like she did.
Unwrapping the Gift of Faith (Luke 1:26-45; 2:1-7)
Faith is unwrapped by Acting despite being Afraid (Luke 1:38)
Faith is unwrapped by Believing despite not Seeing (Luke 1:45)
Faith is unwrapped by Being Content despite bad Circumstances
One week until Christmas.
Christmas gifts are being
bought and wrapped and
placed underneath trees
all over the world.
What is it that you will be unwrapping this year?
Last week we began a series, “Unwrapping the gifts of Christmas”
We started by talking about how to unwrap the gift of courage in our life.
This week we are going to talk about how to unwrap the gift of faith in our life.
To do that we are looking at the people of the Christmas story. Last week we saw how Joseph unwrapped courage into his life. This week we are going to see how to unwrap the gift of faith, just like Mary did.
Turn with me to
Luke 1:26-38 (p. 723)
We are going to read the account of
Mary finding out that she was going to conceive the Christ child
and how she received the gift of faith and
what that faith led to in her life and
what it can lead to in our life.
26 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
34 "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"
35 The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God."
38 "I am the Lord’s servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.
(from New International Version)
That is some pretty amazing stuff there
If you had one of your friends tell you this story, you would probably be pretty skeptical of your friend.
And your friend, if they had this happen to them, would probably be pretty skeptical about anyone believing them.
Now, I want you to imagine for a moment Mary, a young teen girl, who finds herself with child conceived of the Holy Spirit told to her by an angel.
Knowing that the penalty for sex outside of marriage could be death, or if things went unbelievably well,
divorce from the man you are betrothed to,
public disgrace and humiliation for your family, and
you being ostracized from society.
Those are some great options.
She could have tried to talk God out of it.
I am certain that she was very scared of the outcomes of this situation.
But instead of trying to talk God out of it,
Instead of running away,
Instead of complaining about the situation, “why Me!”
She says, “May it be to me as you have said.” (Luke 1:38)
She acted in spite of her fear
And that is the first thing we need to learn about growing in faith.
Faith is unwrapped by Acting despite being Afraid
she did not resist,
she did not run from it.
She accepted it and acted in accordance with that acceptance.
She informed Joseph and her family and did what was right even though she probably knew that nobody would believe her.
She did the right thing anyway.
Easy to talk herself into believing something else
This spot that she finds herself in is so unbelievable that it really would not take too much for her to convince herself that it was just a dream.
In today’s world, if she went to a psychologists they might explain to her that explain that she must have been so emotionally traumatized by a rape that she has blocked the whole situation out of her mind and has replaced it with some far fetched dream of Messianic proportions.