The Gift of ChristmasDecember 5-9
God Indescribable Gift
And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; – Luke 1:46-48 (ESV)
An elderly woman died. Having never married, she requested no male pallbearers. In her handwritten instructions for her memorial service, she wrote, “They wouldn’t take me out while I was alive, I don’t want them to take me out when I’m dead.”
We all want someone who makes us feel special in life. In Luke 1, we see Mary, the mother of Jesus, moved because God “has looked with favor” on her. In some ways, Mary caught God’s eye. Mary was so moved by what God had done for her that it caused her to break out in song.
Luke 1:46-55 has been called “The Magnificat.” The word literally means he glorifies. It comes from the prefix “mega”. Mary was making a big (mega) deal about God because of the indescribable gift He had given her. Mary felt like a nobody from nowhere who had caught the attention of heaven. And Mary teaches us that the spirit of Christmas is mega-worship! This week we will review lessons from her song in Luke 1.
When we see more of God we say more of God. If you have ever felt like a nobody from nowhere, Christmas is for you. Aren’t you glad he regards school teachers, waitresses, single moms, construction workers, etc..? David asked God in Psalm 8:4, “What is man that you are mindful of him?” To go a little deeper today, read all of Psalm 8 and reflect on the blessings of God.
Praise God for our Second Baptist Choir leading us in mega-worship yesterday! What has God done for you through Christmas that should cause you to “mega-worship” Him? Praise Him for those things today
He Has Done Great Things
for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. – Luke 1:49 (ESV)
Samuel Morse invented the first telegraph. When the first transmission was made more than a century ago, the message Morse declared was “What hath God wrought.” It was another way of saying, “look what God has done.”
Mary is moved to song not only because God has “regarded her” but He has also “done great things” for her. God’s power is explicitly stated in Mary’s referring to Him as the “Mighty One.” She adds, “He has done mighty deeds with His arm” (1:51). The psalmist declares that the heavens are the work of God’s finger (Ps. 8:3). When God parted the Red Sea for Israel and brought it down on the Egyptian army, the people sang that it was due to God’s right hand, which is majestic in power (Exod.15:6). But here Mary declares that God’s sending the Savior and scattering His enemies in judgment is due to His arm.
As you look back on 2022 what has God done? Write out a “look what God has done” list. Find someone you can share that list with.
In some ways, praise is bragging on someone. Instead of bragging on yourself today, find a way to brag on God.
God Has Shown Me Mercy
And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. – Luke 1:50 (ESV)
Shortly before her death in 1988, Marghanita Laski, a well-known writer, was amazingly candid in a television interview. She was a secular humanist, which means that she denied the need for, and the existence of, God. But in this moving moment of truth before the world, she said, “What I envy most about you Christians is your forgiveness, I have nobody to forgive me.”
In Mary’s second stanza of her Magnificat, she includes all of God’s people who fear Him from generation to generation. Fear, as used in this passage, refers to worship or reverential awe of who God is. It’s basically people who have put their faith in God’s plan for forgiveness and asked Him for mercy. Mary is singing at Christmas because she has been forgiven.
What is your favorite Christmas song and why? What is your favorite song about forgiveness? Aren’t you glad God didn’t punish you for everything you did this past year much less over the course of your entire life?
Take some time and listen to your favorite song about forgiveness. If you need a suggestion, look up You Are My King by Chris Tomlin. Sing this as your praise to God.
God Has Provided for Me
He has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. – Luke 1:52-53 (ESV)
A seminary professor retired early because of his health. He died at the relatively young age of 58. The last 10 years of his life were spent in and out of hospitals. After his death, his wife gathered some papers that her husband had written. In one paper, he had written: “When I began, I thought of myself as standing upon the bank of the stream of life, shouting instructions to the swimmers who were down below. I was the expert. In the second stage of my ministry, I thought of myself as the rescuer. If I saw someone going down for the third time, I would plunge into the water, rescue him, get him started in the right direction again, and then I would return to the bank. But the last 10 years of my life, I was in the water. And we were fellow strugglers with arms around each other, trying to help one another make it to the shore.” ( Wesley Taylor)
In Luke 1:52-53, Mary sings of our weakness and need and God meeting it. God has always been there for those in need. Mary celebrates the fact that God provides for the humble and the hungry. Hungry refers primarily to spiritual, not physical hunger. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matt. 5:6). D. L. Moody said, “Christ sends none away empty but those who are full of themselves.”
James 1:17 reminds us, “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.” What are the “good things” God has bestowed on you this year?
2 Corinthians 8:9 reads, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes, He became poor so that you through His poverty might become rich.” Praise Jesus for becoming poor for your sake. Thank Him for promising you the riches of heaven.
God Has Been Faithful to Me
He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to His offspring forever.” – Luke 1:54-55 (ESV)
Once upon a time in his marriage, Saul Rosenberg did something really stupid. His wife, Ethel Rosenberg, chewed him out for it. He apologized, and they made up. However, from time to time, Ethel would mention what he had done. “Honey,” Saul finally said one day, “why do you keep bringing that up? I thought your policy was ‘forgive and forget.'” “It is,” Ethel said. “I just don’t want you to forget that I’ve forgiven and forgotten.” (aish.com)
According to Luke 1, God always remembers His mercy to His people and He always remembers His promises. Mary knew the Scriptures. Her song contains at least 15 Old Testament quotes. She knew that God would keep His promise to Abraham, to the seed of Adam, to the nation of Israel, and to all of His followers. She was celebrating the faithfulness of God!
After attending church one Sunday morning, a little boy knelt at his bedside that night and prayed, “Dear God, we had a good time at church today–but I wish you had been there!” You and I know that even though we can’t see God, He is always there. And Christmas is a great reminder that He came in the flesh to keep His promise! What are some of the promises you remember God keeping?
The psalmist wrote, “I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the LORD; The humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together.” (Ps 34:1-3) Magnify the Lord with the psalmist today and give Him some “mega” praise!