Summary: An Advent message
And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.” Luke 1:46-55
When Christ is formed in you
• Envelops Us
• Expressed through us
• Exalted by us
It’s the most wonderful time of the year; we’re often reminded to remember Jesus is the reason for the season. Our eyes are treated to various displays of lights, our ears are lavished with the sounds of the seasons, our bellies are filled with the delicacies of the holidays, and all too often our wallets are emptied of dollars as we spend to get presents for those we love and those we like, just a bit.
The pulpits echo the refrain “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and he shall be called, wonderful counselor, the mighty God, Prince of Peace.” “And there were at the same time shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night, and lo an angel of the Lord appeared before them and they were sore afraid..” “And she brought forth her first born son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.” “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace good will towards all men.” We know these verses, we can almost recite them from memory, and they stir up fond memories of our childhood; our first Christmas pageant, the time we played the sheep, or the time we were one of the wise men, or the time we were Mary, or seeing a nativity scene with real animals and real people. We know Christmas-time, we celebrate Christmas, we honor the traditions and we welcome Christ into our lives on this special holiday season.
But, what of Mary? We read her story in the book of Luke the first chapter concerning the birth of Christ. We know she was a virgin, who was engaged to Joseph. We know the angel of the Lord greeted her with the unexpected news that she was to bare the Savior of the world in her body. Her question answered as to how this would take place, Mary accepts the prophecy from the Lord, and readies herself for the visitation of Hoy Ghost.
When she comes to her Cousin Elizabeth’s house, her cousin greets her with such joy when she heard Mary’s voice. Elizabeth declares that as soon as she heard Mary’s voice, her own baby leaped for joy. How amazing! Elizabeth commends Mary for believing the prophecy from the Lord.
Mary responds with her own song, “My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior”. What a song of praise from a young woman who had every right to be terrified and apprehensive, but because that which was growing inside her was holy, she was filled with praise and adoration of God.
When Christ is formed in you, His presence has the power to cast out all the fears and apprehensions that come in living. In exchange for all of those things, He gives us songs of praises that come from deep within. These songs do not detail our rough roads, they do not amplify our misdeeds but they magnify the Lord and they exalt the great things He does!
Christmas is the time when we as Christians celebrate Christ’s mission. His mission was to save us from the powers of sin. “He breaks the power of cancelled sin and sets the prisoners free.” He came to restore God’s people to right relationship with Him. He came to us, because we couldn’t get to Him because of the mighty gulf sin created between humanity and the Holy One. He came to transform us from sinful creature to new creations. He invites us today to come to Him with opened hearts. We must be willing to let Christ be formed in us. I must let Him be formed in me. Why? I am glad you asked.
When Christ is formed in us, He changes us internally and eternally. He envelops us – not an envelope – but He envelops us. Envelop mean to enclose or enfold completely with or as if with a covering. It also means to mount an attack on (an enemy’s flank). Mary had no idea how she was going to conceive, since she had not been with a man. The angel said “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee:” The word overshadow means to envelop; Christ is formed in us as His precious blood completely covers us, and it is that blood that attacks the enemy of our soul. What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus! That blood, that precious blood, shall never lose its power. Can you feel the love of Christ covering you at this very moment? Think about all the things His presence has kept you from! Think about how Christ presence has kept the enemy from taking you under. Praise Jesus for the way His protective mercy has kept you safe from all hurt, harm and danger. Thank the Lord, even right now, for the things that should have killed you but because He covers you, He has protected you and kept you alive even until right now, that He may get the glory, honor, and praise! He covers, praise God, He covers.