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Christmas Blessing

Christmas 2017  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Christmas Blessing

The Celebration of Christmas is meant to be a blessing.
The term “Blessed” is commonly used today as an adjective for feeling good or having something good happen to us. being blessed is about good fortune and having great experiences. We use the phrase “That’s blessed” to mean something like “inspired” or in connection with ‘material wealth’ or a ‘great experience’.
If you were with us caroling at the Peanut Plaza on Wednesday Night - you probably didn’t go home saying wow ‘that was blessed’- or what a wonderful time of blessing that night of caroling was!
- someone robbed the jewelry store while we were singing carols and a few of our guys tried to stop the thieves - they got away - Paul got cut in the eye. Are we blessed?
Being blessed is when we have money to spare and our circumstances are good we feel blessed and when things aren’t going well and our finances are low we wonder why we are not blessed - or why God is withholding blessing from us...
We generally think we are blessed when we have money to spare and our circumstances are good - but when things don’t go as we planned and we don’t have much to work with we don’t consider ourselves blessed - which means a lot of people on planet earth will not feel very blessed this season at all.
So Many people wonder why God doesn’t bless them - the truth is God’s blessing is unknown to many of us because we look for it in the wrong places and try to get it on our own terms....
which means the majority of people on planet earth will not feel very blessed this season!
We need to be reminded today about what the Christmas story reveals about God’s blessing! Mary, the mother of Jesus, shows us the path of true blessing!
Because Mary shows us the path of true blessing!
We need to be reminded about what the Christmas story reveals about God’s blessing!
We need to be reminded about what the Christmas story reveals about God’s blessing!
Luke 1:26-50
et the celebration of Christmas is a reminder that God has not forgotten us, but has already poured out his blessing…for all who will recieve it.
But the Christmas Story
There are a lot of people who this time of year don’t feel very blessed.
But our English word ‘blessed’ is weak! In the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, the word for 'blessed' meant something much deeper. It meant to bring you to complete peace, to bring to full human functioning; to become everything God meant you to be.
Our English word 'blessed' is weak. We use it to mean something like 'inspired'. We us it in connection with 'material gain' or the idea of a comfortable life. In the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, the word for 'blessed' meant something much deeper. It meant to bring you to complete peace, to full human functioning; to transform you into everything God meant you to be.
Remembering the Christmas story points our hearts towards
The celebration of Christmas
want it on our own terms AND we often
· When she says, 'let it be to me according to your word' she is...
· When she says, 'let it be to me according to your word' she is...
· Setting aside her doubts - this is impossible - I've never had sex
· Adjusting her dreams - Not in her life plans - God initiated this not her…
· Stepping way out of her comfort zone - what she was being asked to do was beyond her skills and ability - She's not an experienced mom . what does she know about raising the messiah (no pressure!)
· Loosing her reputation - pregnant out of wedlock (look foolish not wise)
To loose your dream wedding, to be rejected and criticized by your community, to believe something that seems to go against conventional logic - considered crazy or called a liar
How is this a blessing ?
45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
Elizabeth says… Because Mary believed what was spoken she was blessed. She believed the word of God and so she is blessed.
Mary’s Song of Praise: The Magnificat
· Setting aside her doubts - this is impossible - I've never had sex
· Adjusting her dreams - Not in her life plans - God initiated this not her…
· Stepping way out of her comfort zone - what she was being asked to do was beyond her skills and ability - She's not an experienced mom . what does she know about raising the messiah (no pressure!)
· Loosing her reputation - pregnant out of wedlock (look foolish not wise)
Mary’s Song of Praise: The Magnificat
46 And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
How is this a blessing ?
· When she says, 'let it be to me according to your word' she is...
Ignoring her doubts - and agreeing with something that seems illogical and impossible - I've never had sex - but OK then
Loosing her reputation - pregnant out of wedlock (look foolish not wise)
adjusting her dreams - good bye dream wedding and nice happy family time...
· Stepping way out of her comfort zone - what she was being asked to do was beyond her skills and ability - She's not an experienced mom . what does she know about raising the messiah (no pressure!)
To loose your dream wedding, to be rejected and criticized by your community, to believe something that seems to go against conventional logic - and be considered crazy or called a liar
How is this a blessing ?
It is a blessing because

Jesus is the greatest blessing

...She is blessed with HIS humility…
...She is blessed with HIS humility…
Our English word 'blessed' is weak. We use it to mean something like 'inspired'. We us it in connection with 'material gain' or the idea of a comfortable life. But in the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, the word for 'blessed' meant something much deeper. It meant to bring you to complete peace, to full human functioning; to transform you into everything God meant you to be.
He humbles himself - the God of the universe chooses to associate with her! This radically changes her relationships - she is honoured! She now lives with a new sense of dignity!
...She is blessed with HIS presence….
He comes into her suffering, · her poverty becomes his, · her ridicule becomes his (the bastard son of Mary).
He comes into her suffering,
· her poverty becomes his,
· her ridicule becomes his (the bastard son of Mary).
This radically changes her Suffering! her suffering is no longer meaningless or lonely - because Jesus is suffering with her and for her…and this suffering is leading to salvation for billions of people - She can face her suffering with peace and JOY...
...She is blessed with HIS humanity…
He comes into her world and becomes part of it...he's not just interested in the spiritual but the physical too.. He's come to redeem and to restore … to establish God’s kingdom and bring about a new heaven and a new earth - and she get's to be part of it! …. She now lives with a renewed passion and hope for Justice!
…. She has a renewed passion and hope for Justice!
...she is blessed with HIS grace…
God made a promise, God is simply doing what he said he would do… he doesn't need her, she has no qualifications of her own… she doesn't deserve part of this.. But he chooses her - her life is filled with Hope and security because all of this depends on God’s power and work - not her feeble attempts to obey.
Jesus is the greatest blessing - Jesus brings priceless eternal blessings into our lives that money can not buy! All of God’s blessings come to us through Jesus - without him we are cursed.
John 3:16–18 ESV
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
Luke 1:45 ESV
And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

God’s plan is the pathway that leads to blessing

Elizabeth says… Because Mary believed what was spoken she was blessed. She believed the word of God and so she is blessed.
God’s plan is the pathway that leads to blessings that last forever
Luke 1:45 ESV
And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
Elizabeth says… Because Mary believed what was spoken she was blessed. She is blessed because of word - his plan for her.
Elizabeth says… Because Mary believed what was spoken she was blessed. She believed the word of God and so she is blessed.
Matthew 5:3 ESV
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Our term ‘blessed’ is weak! In the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, the word for 'blessed' meant something much deeper. It meant to bring you to complete peace, to bring to full human functioning; to become everything God meant you to be.
The root of our sin and all the brokenness that it brings - is not simply the things we do but the attitude of our hearts toward God - the heart that says, no thanks God - I’ll do it my way. It’s my life I will decide what is right and wrong for me. Is a heart that is rejecting the very word of life, the plan and purpose that leads to peace and full human functioning.
When we define and pursue blessings on our own terms we end up pushing aside Jesus, pushing away God’s blessing…
His sacrifice - is pushed aside - as we work hard at promoting ourselves and keeping up appearances and all the while feeling discouraged and burned out
d. “Blessed are the poor in spirit” MARY’s humble spirit – submission to God’s plan
His presence - is pushed aside - as we spend our energy pursuing a pain-free life, trying to avoid suffering - instead of experiencing peace and joy our lives are full of fear and anxiety
His humanity - is pushed aside - we draw away from the world around us, we protect our selves from others, we hide from the realities of injustice, with a growing hopeless in our hearts towards the state of humanity.
His grace - is pushed aside - Constantly concerned about the do's and the don'ts and focused on our works - we are driven by guilt, we become champions of self-effort who are arrogant and proud of what we’ve done, or we become frustrated, angry and judgmental of others because we feel that God owes us something for all our hard work…
'Let it be to me according to your word' - she discovers what she was made for… as she gives her self away to his plan and purpose - He brings her into a new life of relationship, strength, hope, and love IN Christ Jesus…
Mary’s heart is 'Let it be to me according to your word' - And as a result she discovers what she was made for… as she gives her self away to his plan and purpose - He brings her into a new life of relationship, strength, hope, and love IN Christ Jesus…
Mary reminds us that True Blessing is not found in our achievements or fortunate circumstances - True blessing is found in Humbly submitting to God’s revealed plan… Receiving God’s gift (Jesus) – believing in his word - Living his way with him.
Mary reminds us that True Blessing is not found in our achievements or fortunate circumstances - True blessing is found in Humbly submitting to his plan… Receiving God’s gift (Jesus) – believing in his word - Living his way with him.
God’s blessing is found in letting go of your own plans, your reputation, your comfort zones and letting God’s word, his will, shape your life.... if you pursue his life for you, even though it may not look very blessed on the surface, you will soon discover that YOU ARE BLESSED!
When we define and pursue blessings on our own terms we end up pushing aside Jesus, pushing away God’s blessing…
As long as you are hanging on tightly to your life, Jesus get's pushed aside to the outside edges …
His sacrifice - is pushed aside - as we work hard at promoting ourselves and keeping up appearances and all the while feeling discouraged and burned out
His presence - is pushed aside - as we spend our energy pursuing a pain-free life, trying to avoid suffering - instead of experiencing peace and joy our lives are full of fear and anxiety
His humanity - is pushed aside - we draw away from the world around us, we protect our selves from others, we hide from the realities of injustice, with a growing hopeless in our hearts towards the state of humanity.
His grace - is pushed aside - Constantly concerned about the do's and the don'ts and focused on our works - we are driven by guilt, we become champions of self-effort who are arrogant and proud of what we’ve done, or we become frustrated, angry and judgmental of others because we feel that God owes us something for all our hard work…
God’s blessing is found in letting go of your own plans, your reputation, your comfort zones and letting God’s word, his will, shape your life.... if you pursue his life for you, even though it may not look very blessed on the surface, you will soon discover that YOU ARE BLESSED!
BECAUSE:
reputation… if you pursue his life for you, even though it may not look very blessed on the surface, you will soon discover that YOU ARE BLESSED!
Jesus is the greatest blessing
God’s plan is the pathway that leads to blessings that last forever
Matthew 11:28–30 ESV
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
The celebration of Christmas is a reminder that God has not forgotten us, but has already poured out his blessing…for all who will receive it.
Are you blessed this morning?
Don’t waste your life chasing lesser blessings! Listen to what God says through his prophet Isaiah -
Isaiah 55:1–3 NLT
“Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink— even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine or milk— it’s all free! Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food. “Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life. I will make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all the unfailing love I promised to David.
God’s plan, his word, is the pathway to blessings that last forever… If you have Jesus you are already blessed! You’re already loved. You’re already forgiven. Follow him. Obey him. Trust him.
God’s plan, his word, is the pathway to blessings that last forever… If you have Jesus you are already blessed! Follow him. Obey him. Trust him.
Let the Celebration of Christmas point you towards true blessing - may the cry of your heart be 'Let it be to me according to your word'
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