I have been writing and teaching on Christmas for the past 3 weeks. We are in full holiday mode all across the country at the moment. My prayer is that we will prepare for and celebrate Christmas correctly this holiday season. I have taught on how to prepare for Christmas and the importance of Christmas. This message is about finding favor for Christmas. Many time, we make Christmas all about ourselves instead of being all about Christ’s birthday celebration. We use the holiday as an excuse to self-indulge. Christmas is all about worship. We have seen how the wise men worshiped Christ and encouraged others to do the same. Now I want to take a look at Mary and Joseph, how they also worshiped Christ. I pray that this lesson will be practical. I am going to teach it in a couple of hours to the children of our church.
In order to discover how to worship Christ practically this Christmas, let’s take a look at a passage from the Bible, Luke 1:26-38. Now that you have had a chance to read the passage, let’s see what we can learn together.
I. Miraculous birth
The birth of Christ is unique. There are several reasons that His birth is different from all other births on this earth. This is important because knowing this will lead us to desire to worship Him as He deserves to be worshiped.
- His birth was foretold very specifically in the Old Testament, about 300 times over a 4,000 year period.
- His conception was announced by an angel. The doctor tells us in our modern times once the act has already happened.
- An Angel announced the sex of the baby even before He was conceived.
- An Angel gave the name of the baby to the parents. The parents, today, name the baby and share it with the world.
- Mary was a virgin and she conceived and gave birth without have sexual relations with a man and no medical procedures.
All of these things should lead us to understand the Christmas is a special celebration and that the celebration exists as an opportunity to worship Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.
Do you remember how the wise men put their lives on hold and went to find the King of the Jews so that they could worship Him? What about Mary, how will she respond to this news? Her life will be radically altered by this news, this Child, and this birth, how did she respond?
II. Mary’s example
We learn some things about Mary that set the stage for her finding favor from God and her beautiful response to the message of the Gospel that was delivered to her.
- In verse 29, we see that Mary is a thoughtful person. The text says that she was “perplexed” by the news at first. She pondered the meaning of the news and how she should respond. She did not have “blind” faith as some would like to claim.
- In verse 28, we see that she has a relationship with God. He knows her and by her answers it is clear that she knows Him.
- She has been taught the Word of God because she values her virginity and knows that her virginity is a matter of life and death. Her parents obviously taught her well, which was the custom in Israel.
- In verse 34, we see that Mary is a seeker of Truth. She hears from the Lord, thinks about the message, and then begins to ask question based on her knowledge so that she can understand. This is similar to the wise men of Matthew 2. They searched for answers from the Bible and when they found them, they applied what they learned. If they did not have the answers, they asked others who could help them.
- Finally, once Mary understands the message and its implications, she bows her knee to the will of God over her own will.
This is what a worshiper of Christ looks like. She has a relationship with God. She is very thoughtful, pondering God’s message to mankind. She seeks answers and once she receives them, she applies them. She places God’s will over her own. Are you living like this on a daily basis? Do you have a personal relationship with God? Do you communicate with God and allow Him to communicate with you? When you do not understand, do you put forth all effort to find answers? Once you learn of God’s will, do you apply it immediately? This is what worship looks like. Are you a worshiper?
III. Joseph’s example
We do not find Joseph’s response to this situation in Luke’s Gospel. But, we do see his thoughts and actions in Matthew’s Gospel. Joseph was worried about Mary being pregnant. He did not know that she had been visited by the Angel. Joseph was a man of God. Although he was engaged to Mary, they were saving their virginity until marriage. They were obeying God. When Joseph discovered that Mary was pregnant, his whole world was turned upside down. He did not want to marry her because of what had happened. He followed God’s Word on what to do. But, before he could put her away, the Lord visited him and informed him of the Good News. Joseph bowed his knee in submission to the will of God, choosing to obey God over what others may think or say about him.
IV. The King of kings
Let’s take a look at who Christ is and what He is able to do because this will motivated us to want to worship Him and do it correctly. His Name means “God saves”. Jesus is God’s gift of salvation to us, mankind. Since we are all born sinners, separated from a Holy God by our very nature, we need help, we need to be rescued from ourselves. Jesus is the answer. Before we accept Christ as Lord and Savior and are born again, we are anchored to our sin nature. When we are born again through faith in Christ, we get anchored to Christ and are able to overcome our sin nature through Him. Jesus is eternal and His kingdom is eternal. Once we join Him, we have the security of eternity. Now, we are able to worship Him all the days of our lives and once we pass into eternity, for all of eternity as well.
My dear friend, are you a genuine worshiper of Christ the way that Mary and Joseph were? Do you have a personal relationship with God? Have you bowed your knee to God’s will over your own? Has the power of sin been broken in your life? All of these things can be done because of the birth of the King of kings, Jesus Christ. Are you ready to accept Him as Lord and Savior so that this Christmas will be the best ever, until the next? May God help us all worship and serve Him the way that the wise men, Joseph, and Mary did!