GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM THE COMING CHRISTMAS KING!
Text: Luke 1: 39-55
Fellow Redeemed Sinners Remembering The Birth of God’s Son:
The little girl was trapped. She was a refugee. Her country was at war with the nation she was trapped in. The years went on. The family fled from place to place just trying to survive. The little girl grew to be about 11 years old. Finally, the war was drawing to a close. The Americans were coming to the town she was in. She would be saved! Bombs and artillery shells reigned down on the town. Everyone was huddled in a bomb shelter. They were very afraid. Finally it stopped. The shooting stopped. The young girl was curious and scared and excited all at the same time. She crept up the stairs and peeked outside. A big, tough, cigar-chomping American soldier appeared with his machine gun. He looked at her and said: “Hiya, Toots!” She was saved! Soon thereafter that soldier took a bullet and died. For the rest of her life that young girl, now an older woman, recalled that day and that event each and every year. In her heart she keep her liberator’s nameless face in mind and honored him with her thoughts and prayers each Memorial day. She vowed never to forget him, even if everyone else on this earth did.
If someone freed you and saved your life by giving their life for yours, would you ever forget that event? Wouldn’t you tell others? Wouldn’t you try to honor that person’s memory? Wouldn’t you take the time, make the time, each year to celebrate their life-saving act? Well, that’s what Christmas is all about. It’s not simply about spending time with family, or having a meal together, or opening gifts. It’s not about inventing human traditions which often overshadow or even take the place of Godly traditions. No, Christmas is about honoring the Baby Jesus for coming to save us. And thus, the only place to be on Christmas is in His house. For we remember and recall His selfless love for us when we worship, when we magnify His glorious name!
The virgin Mary was pregnant with the baby Jesus. She went to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, who was also pregnant with John the Baptist. Upon arrival, Elizabeth, having been instructed by God’s angelic messenger, gave her cousin Mary a most uplifting greeting. “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the m other of my Lord should come to me?” At that, John leaped for joy in his mother’s womb! Yes, the baby Jesus, the developing fetus within Mary brought forth joy in his soon-to-be-born cousin.
Mary knew the reasons behind these odes of joy, spontaneously brought forth by her arrival. She had already heard Gabriel’s words telling her she would give birth to the Son of God. Mary is a bit overwhelmed by it all, too. And so, in a spontaneous expression of pure joy in her heart, she launches into what we call: The Magnificat. That is, she magnifies God’s grace to her, thanking Him for honoring her, confessing her unworthiness at it all, and proclaiming her Son’s glorious work, God’s work, of saving her soul. Listen again to her words: “My soul glorifies (magnifies) 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 be 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, even as he said to our fathers.”
Notice how Mary begins by honoring her Baby Who is yet to be born. She honors Him, His heavenly Father and the Spirit through Whom she became pregnant. Then she launches into talking of Him and His work as though He already existed on this earth. She speaks that way, in the past tense, because He has existed since time began. Christ is eternal. Christ is God’s Son. Christ was busy through all history in shepherding His people. But now, He would visibly come into this world, take on our flesh and blood, and extend this glorious work of saving hearts and souls—and doing it for everyone to see with their eyes.
Mary’s words are not just about her and her inner thoughts. They are also about you and me. We are those future generations who call Him blessed. It doesn’t matter your age, whether you are 80 or 1 year old. It’s up to each of you to magnify Christ’s name and resolve never, ever, to forget the greatest event in your life—God’s Son coming to save you!
All of us have personal traditions. We have events in our families that we have resolved to never forget and to celebrate each year. Usually they revolve around someone who has impacted us more than we can tell. Well, we all stand in the reality of Christ’s coming on this very day! The soldier of the cross, Jesus, was born to give up His life for yours. If you know that and take it seriously, in the future shouldn’t you plan the family dinner, the opening of gifts, and your personal Christmas party around the reason behind it all? Isn’t the living memory of the Babe of Bethlehem worth a trip to the manger at His home, at church, each and every Christmas, each memorial day of His birth?
Today the children have prepared each of you for that glorious homecoming! Their message to you is: don’t ever miss any of it! Yes, as Jesus once said: “Out of the mouths of babes and infants, God has ordained praise!” So, learn from them, learn from Mary, and do likewise! Magnify the Lord! Amen