TEACHER:  Ken Hicks

SCRIPTURES:   Luke 1:39-45

BOTTOM LINE:  If we believe God is who He said He was and He will do what He’s promised He will do, we can be BLESSED this CHRISTmas season just like Mary was.

QUESTION: Have you ever felt so overwhelmed by your circumstances in life that there is no JOY in your life, much less the thought that you could be BLESSED?

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All of a sudden … CHRISTmas is complicated hasn’t it?

And what we all really wan to know is this … is there some secret way to making sure I always enjoy CHRISTmas?

  • regardless of how much $$ we have for presents
  • in spite of the fruitcakes [and I wasn’t thinking about people here, but hey, that might be applicable too]

… is there a sure fire way to make sure that our family enjoys the TRUE Celebration of CHRISTmas?

And I don’t know that I can give you a 100% for sure answer on that … but I can tell you, I’ve been reading thru Luke 1 & 2 everyday just sort of preparing my own heart for this season of Advent and anticipating the honor of celebrating the birth of Jesus … who has changed my life in so many ways …

… and I’ve read these (especially Luke 2) so many times before … but something just really began to stand out to me a couple weeks ago …

And that’s this:

  • We know the story of CHRITmas is Simply True
  • And what we’d all love to know and be reminded of this season is that we are Simply Blessed

Luke begins his story of the life of Jesus w/ a story about an older couple named Zechariah & Elizabeth … the parents of a John the Baptist … and the angel Gabriel appears to Zechariah while he’s serving in the Temple and tells him that his wife would be allowed to finally conceive and have a son.

So … when Elizabeth was 6 months pregnant w/ JohnMary gets her amazing visit from the angel Gabriel .. he has similar news for Mary as he did for Elizabeth & Zechariah … EXCEPT … 1 major difference right? Mary was a VIRGIN … The Greek word is Parthenos … and it was the common word used to refer to a young woman who had never had sexual intercourse.

So … now … Mary & Elizabeth are both pregnant … both are miraculous conceptions … but also very different … God opened Elizabeth’s barren womb so she could conceive a son by her husband Zechariah … but Mary conceived as a virgin through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Elizabeth was carrying a Son who was born to become the Promoter of the Messiah … and Mary was carrying a Son who WAS the Messiah.

QUESTION: Why Would Mary Visit Elizabeth?

  • She had Faith … but needed some confirmation … and she got it!
  • She got Personal Confirmation … from Elizabeth’s story
  • She got Physical Confirmation … Elizabeth was showing at this point (6 months pregnant)
  • She got Prophetic Confirmation … literally w/ her baby jumping in her womb

Mary needed to talk to someone who would believe her … I mean, imagine our teen-age daughter coming to us and saying, Mom/Dad, I’m pregnant, but it’s not what you’re thinking! I’m still a virgin … but God has chosen for me to be the mother of the promised Messiah.

Elizabeth is Pouring on the BLESSINGS  (1:42-45)

3 times here … we see Elizabeth pouring on the BLESSINGS don’t we … almost as if she’s going … Mary, you do know you’re blessed right?

The 1st Blessed refers o what God did for Mary that no one else could have done. Mary couldn’t conceive on her own … she didn’t’ need a man to conceive the Messiah … God alone chose her to be the human instrument by which the Son of God would begin his human life.

Then she Blesses her again w/ the 2nd Blessing … she says … and your child is BLESSED … Why? And the translation here is that same Greek Word eulogeo … God has also confirmed w/ His Word that this child is going to be special.

This 3rd Blessing is not the Greek Word Eulogeo …it’s a completely different word … Makarios … which means happiness that transcends any circumstances … it’s a divine Gift … it’s something that we get from God when we believe God’s Word is TRUE.

Makarios means no matter what may be happening in my life, I can be happy because I believe in the end, God’s presence with me is enough.

Mary is such an incredible example of this for us … she’s not the mother of God … she’s not the Queen of Heaven … but she is a model of someone who chose to place her Faith in who God is … and she was BLESSED … and not just because she was chosen to give birth to the Messiah … she was BLESSED not just because of what God “Did” to her … but honestly, because of how she responded.

 

 

APPLICATION:   Mary was BLESSED … Mary was happy beyond any circumstances … because Mary believed.

And that sort of takes us full-circle, all the way back to the beginning question … is there some secret way to making sure I always enjoy CHRISTmas?

Being Happy at CHRISTmas doesn’t come from: Circumstances … Giving or Receiving … BUT through BELIEVING …

And this is HUGE for us to remember this time of year … Believe it or not … this JOYFUL time of year is also one of the most depressing times of the year for some folks … Suicide rates actually go UP this time of year … People become desperate to find Happiness … and what we all experience sometimes is that if we’re not careful, we can allow our Circumstances to dictate our Happiness

But something really, really powerful happens when sort of like Mary … when things may not be ideal for us … we still BELIEVE … We choose to Believe the story of CHRISTmas is true … and that God truly is the SOURCE of our Blessing … and WE Can Be BLESSED too!

So here’s some good news … if we truly desire to be BLESSED this CHRISTmas season … we can follow the example modeled for us by Jesus’ very own earthly mother … she was BLESSED because she honestly Believed God was who He said He was and that God would do what God said He would do …

… that God was going to give to all mankind the greatest CHRISTmas present of all time … the Gift of a Savior … the Promised Messiah.

And if we BELIEVE that … the reality is … we too are BLESSED.

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