We have entered in to a new Church year. The Gospel readings shift from Luke to Matthew. The church calendar is arranged in such a way that it starts out with the season of Advent. Advent is a time of waiting; waiting for the promised Messiah. The promised Messiah came, but not as people expected. God chose to use a young, poverty-stricken girl in an out of the way place called Nazareth to be the mother of God. Mary is the one God chose. She was impregnated by the power of the Holy Spirit and God took on flesh. We refer to that event as the incarnation. God became a man. Luke 1:26-38 26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 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, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” 34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most-High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.” 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
This is an incredible event! The eternal God placed in the womb of a human being. Why? Since Genesis chapter 3 when humans rebelled against God and ate of the fruit of the forbidden tree, mankind fell from God’s grace. That fall from God’s grace caused us to be separated from God. The law was given so that God’s people would know how to live. No one could keep the law perfectly, which is what God requires from us to achieve righteousness that would restore our relationship with God. So in the fullness of time, God sent His Son, born under the law to fulfill the law in our place. Jesus had to be true man in order to be under the law. Jesus had to be true God in order to keep the law perfectly. If Jesus would have committed a single sin, His death on the cross would be payment for that sin. Since Jesus is the “sinless Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” His innocent suffering and death was in payment for the sins of all who trust in Him.
God works in mysterious ways His wonders to achieve. He chose a common peasant girl to be the one who would give birth to His Son. Jesus was not born in a palace or a temple, but in a feeding trough. The angels chose the shepherds out tending their flocks to announce the birth of God’s only Son, the Savior of the world. Shepherds were not considered respectable people. They were dirty and more than likely smelled. Yet God chose them with the glad tidings of great joy which shall be for all people. They responded and found Jesus I the manger and went out with great joy and told everyone what they had seen. The book of Matthew describes a special star that God put in the sky to announce the birth of the King of Kings. A group of Magi from the east and followed it to where Jesus was. They worshipped Him and brought Him gifts. The Magi were star gazers ad magicians. Those activities were forbidden in Jewish law, yet they were the ones who recognized this earth-shattering event that had come to pass.
What does all this mean for us on the Christmas Season? It means God uses all people who will receive Him. All people! How has God been working in your life these days? Take some extra time with God this Advent Season to look for God’s hand in your life. It is there, but many times goes unnoticed and unappreciated.
Merry Christmas everyone. Pastor Dave