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An Early Christmas Present

12/4/05  CC/AM

Luke 1:26-38

Angels At Christmas #2

Introduction: Do you like to open your Christmas presents before Christmas Day?  Do you know what you are going to give/get for Christmas?  On the first Christmas Mary knew what she was going to get many months before Christmas morning.  As we take a look at the promise of that perfect gift we will notice three aspects of God’s character that are a blessing to us at this Christmas and throughout the year.

1.     God’s grace

a.      Gabriel is once again sent out on a mission to deliver a very special message.

b.     It has been just over six months since his last assignment when he told Zechariah that he was going to have a son.

c.     This time he was sent to Galilee to a town called Nazareth.  It wasn’t a town that was thought of very highly by those in the area, as a matter of fact people questioned whether anything good could come from that place.  It might have been a town like ….

d.     Anyway he went to an unlikely town to give an unusual message to an unsuspecting teenager.

e.      The initial message was Hail, favored one.  It means, “Hello”, you that have been graced by God.

f.       Upon hearing it, Mary did the same thing that you or I would have done.  She wondered what was going on?

g.     Gabriel then tells her not to be afraid and then he restates the fact that she has found favor with God.  What did that mean?

h.     It meant that she was going to be the recipient of the grace of God.  It was not because she was better than anyone else.  It was not because she was sinless by any stretch of the imagination.  She was a Jewish teenager that God had chosen to pour his grace out on in a very spectacular way.

i.        As we look forward to Christmas we would do well to consider the grace of God’s that has been extended to us.  He has made a way for sinners like you and me to be as Peter puts it “be partakers in the Divine nature”.  There are loads of benefits in that for today and for eternity.

j.        God was gracious to Mary in choosing her to be the woman who would bear His Divine Son and today God’s grace is exhibited to us by the fact that He allows us through Jesus to be His children.

k.     We are “graced” too

2.     God’s guarantee

a.      You might remember last week that Zechariah was given some information concerning what his coming son would be like.

b.     Mary is also given some promises concerning her son.

                                                              i.      You will name Him Jesus.  It is the Old Testament equivalent of Joshua.  It means Jehovah is salvation.

                                                            ii.      He will be great.  The same thing was said of John.  Again nice to know what kind of person your child will be.

                                                          iii.      He will be called the Son of the Most High.

                                                         iv.      He will have the throne of his father David.

                                                           v.      He will reign over Israel forever.

                                                         vi.      His kingdom will never end.

c.     I am sure that Mary’s head was spinning with all of the information that she was given.

3.     God’s greatness

a.      Interesting that she was very perceptive in realizing that Gabriel was not talking about this being an event that would take place after she and Joseph held their formal wedding.  (Under Jewish law they were already considered married when the arrangement had been settle between the parents. At engagement you were promised and it took a divorce to cancel the wedding ceremony.

b.     She had a question for Gabriel.  How can this happen when I am still a virgin?

c.     Her response was different from Zechariah.  He asked for some sign because he didn’t believe, she simply asked how could it be possible?

d.     Gabriel explains that this child will not take place because of a physical relationship but though a supernatural relationship.

e.      He then encourages her by telling her of the miracle that has already taken place with her relative, Elizabeth.

f.       He then makes a statement concerning the power and greatness of God.  There is nothing that is impossible when it comes to God!

g.     What a wonderful truth for us to cling to all year and throughout our lives.  God can do anything!

h.     Mary gives a response that is also one that we should have today.  She says that I am God’s and He can do with me whatever He wants to do.

i.        Do we have the same attitude?

Conclusion: God has been and will continue to be gracious to you and me.  Some of the guarantees that were made to Mary are still awaiting to be realized but make no mistake about it, they will happen.  God is great and nothing is impossible for Him.  The situations that we face in life and feel are beyond our abilities to fix might be, but they are not to hard for God, nothing is.  As Mary pondered these things in her heart, so should we!

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