Christmas Eve Service
Luke 1:26-38 – Amazing Promise!
Every aspect of the Christmas account is absolutely amazing. And it begins with this one, this promise made to the virgin Mary, Jesus’ mother. The angel Gabriel came to her and told her that she was going to have a baby. To this Mary has a very reasonable question, doesn’t she? “How will this be?” Virgins don’t have babies! It can’t happen! It doesn’t work that way! J Then the angel explained to her that the Holy Spirit was going to cause her to become pregnant miraculously. And, the virgin became pregnant miraculously and had a baby, just as God had promised. How? Well, finally, “Nothing is impossible with God.”
Do we believe that? Do we believe that “nothing is impossible with God”? Or do we try to fit God into our own little box, fit him into our mind, limit him to what is only scientifically possible, or logical, or what we might prefer? Really? That we would make God fit to our understanding? How sinful on our part!
But thank the Lord that He is NOT limited! Nothing is impossible for Him- no matter what! And we see it in this account: that Mary had a baby, His promise prevailed, It happened! It’s true! That’s amazing! And if God keeps that promise, which He did, then every promise He’s made to you is true! That your sins are forgiven? True! His promise to be with you always? True! His promise to guide all things in order to bring you to heaven? True! For nothing is impossible with God!
Matthew 1:18-25 – Amazing Names!
It can be sort of easy for us to read over this section and the names that are given and say, “Ho-hum.” So let’s consider these two names for a bit. The first, “Emmanuel.” What does that name mean? We’re given the answer, “God with us.” Now think about that for a second, God…was willing to be…with us! God…was willing to come into our world! God…was willing to be one of us, to become a human being! That’s amazing!
And why did he come? He came in order to save us! That’s the name “Jesus.” Jesus comes from the Hebrew word Yashah that literally means to save. So whenever we hear the name “Jesus” God wants us to hear, “I have come to save you! I have come to deliver you! I have come to rescue you!”
And could there be anything more amazing than that? Sinful human beings as we are, God was NOT ok with condemning us to hell! God was NOT ok with sending us to suffer eternally! So, He did what was necessary, He came into the world, He joined Himself to us, He came in order to save us! That’s amazing! And that’s what God wants you to hear in the names “Emmanuel” and “Jesus.”
Luke 2:1-5 – Amazing Circumstances!
Wow, did Caesar have bad timing here or what? Didn’t he know Mary was pregnant and about to have a child and NOW has to travel a few days journey to Bethlehem? Didn’t he know that Mary was pregnant with none other than THE promised Savior, THE Messiah?!? Didn’t he know that this journey would be difficult especially for a lady 9 months pregnant? I’m guessing he had no idea J.
Yet, Caesar’s decree set in motion the very fulfillment of God’s prophecy in the OT. God had through the prophets determined that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, the City of David. Did Caesar know this? Do you think Caesar was in his palace thinking, “Oh, that’s right! I better plan a taxation so Mary and Joseph will have to travel to Bethlehem and Jesus can be born in Bethlehem just like God said!” J I’m thinking this was the furthest thing from his mind!
Caesar’s timing couldn’t be more impeccable! He didn’t know it, but God did! God directed the course of history so that His Savior would be born at the proper time in the proper place under the proper circumstances! God moulds history for the good of His people so that His will will be done! God does the same for you! God works in your life, God guides you. God guides all things for His purposes. Think you’ll always see it? Probably not. But He does! He did it then and He does so today! How amazing!
Luke 2:6-7 – Amazing Humility!
Mary’s a first time mom. She did what just about every mom back then would do, she wrapped her Son in cloths to keep him warm and safe. Was she doing it right? Was she being a good mom? Well, then she placed him in a feeding trough, a manger. Really? But that’s all she had. That was the only place open for her child because there was no room in any inn.
Think about it: this is the most important birth of all time! This is the King of kings and Lord of lords and He’s born where? In a barn! Placed in a feeding trough. This isn’t sterile conditions, think of the smell, the noise, the hay, the general un-comfortableness of it all. What’s going on?
Jesus didn’t have to, but He willingly set aside the full use of his glory for a time to live among us. Right at his birth he sets the tone for his life. He didn’t come for vain earthly glory and honor or earthly riches and wealth, he came in order to willingly suffer and die a lowly and humiliating death on the cross. Why? Because He loves, because He wants us to be with Him forever. What amazing humility! What amazing love! What amazing grace!
Luke 2:14 – Amazing Relationship!
“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” That’s what the hosts of angels sang as the skies burst forth with angels singing praises to God! The Greek word that’s translated “favor” is an interesting one. It literally means to “have a good disposition toward someone or something” in other words it means “to like someone or something.” It’s a subjective opinion about something. For example, you have different things you like: a favorite color, favorite food, a favorite song, etc. There may be no rhyme or reason as to why, you just do. And you can’t argue with an opinion. It’s your opinion- that’s the Greek word “favor.”
So, look at the verse. What does God “favor”? What does God like? It says God likes…humans! It says God likes…us!
And how could God show that more brilliantly than in this Christmas account? God liked us so much that He became one of us, to eat our food, to drink our water, to walk on our ground, to die our death, all so that we might spend eternity with Him! Now, I don’t know about you, but it strikes me that God must LIKE us A LOT!
And that’s amazing! With all of our sinfulness, our failures, our rebellious ways, God says He likes us. Christmas proves it! What amazing grace of our God! And it leads us fall down in amazement before Him and say with our words and our lives, “Thank you, God, for your amazing love for me!” Amen.