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?
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/ John … Mary 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.