Tuesday, December 22, 2015

December 23, 2015

“In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,  and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” Luke 1:26-34

“And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.” Luke 1:46-55

The first chapter of Luke is one of the most exciting chapters in the Bible because it announces two miraculous births – the births of John the Baptist and of Jesus!

I selected these two portions of Scripture from Luke 1 because they first show in the beginning Mary is overwhelmed but at the end she is overjoyed! (Actually, the same is true of Zechariah and Elizabeth).

How do you go from being overwhelmed to being overjoyed! How does that happen?

Christmas Season is supposed to be a season when Christians are overjoyed but I find they are often overwhelmed so it is important to understand how Mary began that first Christmas overwhelmed but ended it overjoyed.

Before I explore that further I want to ask you to think about the last time you were overjoyed about your life.

Can you remember?

Let me ask you this, “Before you were overjoyed, was there a season where you were overwhelmed?”

I thought so!

That was true of Mary, it was true of Zechariah, it’s often true of people I minister to and it has been true in my life!

Seasons of praise usually arise out of seasons of pressure and problems.

Is that not true?

Have you thought of that?

Maybe you should!

That’s one of the great truths of Christmas! God sent Jesus to give overwhelmed people a chance to become overjoyed!