"Not For Women Only"
Some would argue that it is only Mary who could truly understand what it was to comprehend what the birth of Jesus really meant. They will contend that it was only Mary who carried Jesus for a period of 9 months within her; and so, it was only Mary who could understand what it meant to have Christ living inside of her. Is that a true statement?
In the letter to the Galatians St. Paul writes "My little children, with whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you" (Galatians 4:19) What Paul is getting at is that every Christian has the same privilege as Mary to possess Christ. Each of us has the opportunity to claim, "Christ lives in me!" This is the ultimate purpose of Christmas – to have Christ born in each believing heart. This morning, let’s consider the example of Mary, as we are to carry Christ within us:
1. Like Mary, we need a sense of unworthiness to possess Christ. Listen to verse 28 of our text for today: "Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be". What would your reaction be if an angel appeared to you? And what would your reaction be after receiving such a salutation as the one that she received? Certainly, she was neither sinless nor perfect. Her favor with God was in her willingness to be used for God’s purposes and to use her life in spite of what it may cost.
This is exactly what we are asked of God today, to be used for His purposes. He asks us to give God our life and say to the Lord "use me as your instrument".
2. Like Mary, we need a healthy reverence for God. Listen to verse 30 of our text for today: "But the angel said, fear not Mary for you have found favor with God" Yet, what does the angel say to her? He calls her favored by God. Mary was a favored girl. She found favor with God. To be favored meant to be approved of God and capable of carrying out God’s plan for the world.
What had she done to deserve this favor, or wasn’t it deserved? She was a simple, poor, and humble woman. He character was expressed however in her acceptance of the position, which fell upon her. She said, "Let it be to me according to your word."
3. Like Mary, we need to be open to the Spirit. Listen to verse 35 of our text for today; "The angel answered, The Holy Spirit will come upon 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" Notice that when Mary received the news of her coming motherhood of the Messiah, she asked a sensible and normal question, "How? How will this happen?"
Since she was unmarried, how could she become a mother? Today,sadly, not every young girl would need to ask that question. Mary serves as a role model for our young both male and female alike. Virginity is the greatest gift you can give to your spouse. No, we do not venerate the saint…that is true. But we should follow their example. Virginity before marriage is noble and honorable before God.
The answer to Mary’s question is simple and yet so profound. How is this miracle to be performed? The answer is that the Holy Spirit would be the Father of God’s Son. The question "How?" was vital to Mary. To the Christian there are more important questions about this child; who is He and why is He coming? Who is He? He is the Son of God. Why is He coming to bear the sins of the world in His own body? He comes for those who are broken by their sin. He comes for those who are worried about their futures; how will I stand before God when He returns? He comes to bring salvation and life. He comes to bring us His mercy and grace.
4. Like Mary, we need to be a submissive servant. Listen to verse 38 of our text for today; "I am the Lord’s servant…may it be to me as you have said". This is an impossible situation! A birth without a father, a peasant girl becoming the mother of God; and God becomes a person! Yet, NOTHING is impossible with God! Christmas is God’s work and action! He comes in the person of Jesus Christ. He chooses Mary, He chooses you and me> He produces a life by the Spirit. Because Christmas is of God, the impossible becomes possible.
What is it that is impossible in your life today? NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD! Do you believe it? Do you want to believe it but are afraid that it just won’t happen? If Jesus can be born of the Virgin Mary nothing, absolutely nothing is impossible with God. Trust in Him! Christmas is God’s guarantee that all things are possible and nothing is impossible for God!