Unwrapping Christmas – Part 2

Unwrapping Christmas – Part 2

Today we are going to take a closer look at Mary and Joseph and their elderly relatives, Zachariah and Elizabeth.  We are going to learn from each of these how God is at work in our lives today preparing us for where he will guide us too tomorrow.

LET’S START WITH MARY’S STORY

  • One afternoon Mary was spending some time alone, when suddenly, she realized she was not alone. She could see what first appeared to be a man, but was, actually, an angel, sent by God. His name was Gabriel.
  • He said to Mary…  “You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 
  • And so she asked, “How can this happen, since I am a virgin?”
  • And then Gabriel spoke the words to Mary that we ourselves know are certainly true: “For nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37)
  • She said… “I am the Lord’s servant… May it be to me as you have said.” (Luke 1:38)
  • It didn’t take long for Mary to go from how can this be? to may it be as you have said. This change was made possible because she had already decided, as she said, I am the Lord’s servant.

LET’S LOOK AT ZECHARIAH AND ELIZABETH’S STORY NEXT.

  • Zechariah and Elizabeth were both good, godly people. They were careful to obey all the Lord’s commands. There was only one exception to their joy. They were childless. In their culture, couples weren’t childless by choice. Childlessness was considered by many to be a form of punishment from God.
  • The angel met Zechariah inside the temple and said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah. God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you will name him John.”
  • Zechariah seemed to doubt it what the angel said.  So Gabriel responded, in effect, “Since you don’t believe my words, I’ll give you proof. I am going to mute you and you will stay muted until the day your son is born.”
  • Soon, Elizabeth did become pregnant, even in her old age.

AND THIS IS HOW ELIZABETH RESPONDED

  • When Elizabeth realized she was indeed pregnant, she said, “The Lord has done this for me, in these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.” (Luke 1:25)
  • When Mary arrived at the home of Elizabeth and Zechariah, Elizabeth heard her and came running, saying… “You’re pregnant because God has chosen you for something special.”
  • Everyone needs an Elizabeth. Elizabeth knew something about the God who makes possible that which is impossible. And now here she was: speaking words of faith and affirmation to a young girl facing an overwhelming future.

LET’S LOOK AT JOSEPH’S STORY

  • Joseph decided the best course of action was to quietly divorce Mary, taking the blame himself, without subjecting her to more ridicule than she was already facing. 
  • And then, one night in a dream, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph and said… “Do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you to give him the name Jesus.”
  • And so it was decided. Joseph and Mary would move forward, together. They would pick up where their hopes and dreams for the future left off, with one “minor” modification: together they would be raising the Son of God.

IN THESE CLOSING MOMENTS LET ME SHARE 3 FACTS

  • In this story each character took their own spiritual journey to a place of surrender to God’s will. Before they could begin the journey to fulfill God’s call on their lives, they first needed to go to a place of surrender. 
  • With Joseph, there was never any doubt of him doing the right thing; he just needed a word from God, so God spoke to him.
  • Zechariah needed a little more proof. “How can I be sure?” he asked. The angel said: “I will end your doubt by muting your voice. Is that enough proof for you?”
  • Mary’s journey to surrender was but a few steps. Elizabeth played a role in giving Mary much-needed affirmation, but from the very beginning, she was able to say: “I am the Lord’s servant… May it be to me as you have said.” (Luke 1:38)

In a quick application of today’s story, I want to leave you with three thoughts.

1. You’re more qualified than you think you are.
2. God will give you the confirmation and direction you need, when you need it.
3. The Journey Before the Journey Begins Today.

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