Thursday, December 20, 2007

Advent 2007 (III): Mary and Her News
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Mary And Her Newsº


  1. Good News: You baptized seven people today in the river. Bad News: You lost two of them in the swift current.

  2. Good News: The Women’s Guild voted to send you a get-well card. Bad News: The vote passed by 31-30.

  3. Good News: The Elder Board accepted your job description the way you wrote it. Bad News: They were so inspired by it, they also formed a search committee to find somebody capable of filling the position.

  4. Good News: You finally found a choir director who approaches things exactly the same way you do. Bad News: The choir mutinied.

  5. Good News: Mrs. Jones is wild about your sermons. Bad News: Mrs. Jones is also wild about the “Gong Show,” “Beavis and Butthead” and “Texas Chain Saw Massacre.”

  6. Good News: The trustees finally voted to add more church parking. Bad News: They are going to blacktop the front lawn of your parsonage.

  7. Good News: Church attendance rose dramatically the last three weeks. Bad News: You were on vacation.

  8. Good News: Your biggest critic just left your church. Bad News: He has been appointed the Head Bishop of your denomination.

  9. Good News: The youth in your church come to your house for a surprise visit. Bad News: It’s in the middle of the night and they are armed with toilet paper and shaving cream to “decorate” your house.

Read: Luke 2:1-7


Trans:You have heard the expression, “As weak as a baby”2

  1. And it was as true for Jesus as it was for any other baby.

  2. But there is an irony here – for when we see Jesus in that manger we do see him at his weakest, but we also see the most powerful person in the universe. The King of Kings, the Lord of Lords.

  3. We must never forget, that in that manger lies not just a baby, but God himself.

T.S. And even though God is in that manger, I expect that not everyone thought that that birth was “good news”.

  1. Christmas is not Good News at all

    1. I think if I were Mary's grandmother, I would really wonder about how good this birth of Jesus really was. I mean I would really be embarrassed to explain to my neighbor all that went on with my grandson's birth.

    2. Mary is engaged – but she has not yet moved in with her husband and she is pregnant. Very pregnant.

    3. She wasn't even home for the first three months – went to visit Elizabeth you know. But once Elizabeth had her baby, a boy named John, she comes home. She didn't even stay to help.

    4. And, you know what was really strange. Mary is nearly ready to have her baby and Joseph takes here across country to that little village – Bethlehem. And he didn't even arrange for a place to stay – how irresponsible is that. Irresponsibility comes in two types. Some people, like Joseph, are just plain irresponsible.

(Ill.) And then there are times that even normal people do irresponsible things. For example, The Rev. Robert Middlemiss of England found he was traveling on the wrong train—a non-stop express. More than that: he had to attend a meeting at which he was to bring the message. Rev. Middlemiss prayed for help, and within minutes the train stopped. The preacher, overjoyed at his good fortune, jumped from the Newcastle-to-London express and summoned a taxi so that he could keep his appointment at a nearby town. But the British rail system was not happy about the incident. It criticized the Baptist minister for his “foolish and irresponsible action.” It also denied that the train stopped because of divine intervention, saying, “There was trouble on the line.” 3

    1. And because of Joseph's irresponsibility, Mary has her baby in manger – a manger.

(Ill.) It would be like your daughter or granddaughter going to the hospital and finding it was full. The nurse has a crazy idea – he and his wife are going on a camping trip tomorrow and the SUV is packed, ready to go. She has an orderly go to his car and set up the tent – and there, next to the wonderfully equipped hospital, your daughter has her baby.

    1. It really is a grandmother's nightmare – did you hear that Mary also tells stories about seeing angels. Not only Mary, but there is that boy Joseph – he talks about them too. And its not just them – there were those dirty shepherds. They talked about seeing an angel too – no not just an angel, a host of angels. And then they have the nerve to go and visit Mary. They didn't even know her,

    2. How can anybody consider this “good news”?

  1. Christmas is really Good News!

    1. But it is good news.

(Appl.) Too often we judge life by its circumstances. Our imaginary grandmother was doing exactly that – looking at the Jesus birth through the circumstances rather than through God's eyes. And we fall into the same trap about our circumstances

    1. Paul, in his letters to the Galatians, saw beyond the circumstances.

(Ill.) Galatians is an interesting book. Most believe that Galatians was one of earliest (maybe the earliest) letter written Paul. It respresents some his earliest thoughts about his faith as a young believer. And he shares some his thoughts on Christ's arrival on our planet.

    1. Let's take a minute to look at Galatians 4:3-7

    2. Paul is very much aware of what I have said all too often – we are broken people. We were slaves – and if you read the rest of the NT, you know he means slaves to sin. We did those things that we did not want to do. And did not do those things that we were expected to do.

    3. Because sin is so personal, we sometimes will feel like we are the only ones that have the problems that we have – when in reality sin is common to all mankind. Paul says it here, were slaves under the basic principles of the world.

    4. God could have left us there – but he didn't. To quote Paul, “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.

    5. Paul uses an illustration here – he says we can call out to Him, “Abba, Father”.

(Ill.) Abba is an interesting word. It is not the formal word “Father...”, rather it is a word that would be used in the nursury. We might use the word “daddy” in the same way. It is the kind of word you might here a child say as his father comes to the door – and the child comes running to meet him, “Abba”.4

    1. Christmas is not bad news. In Christmas God, brought His son into the world. And His son would allow us to become members of the family of God. And that is “GOOD NEWS”.

Conclusion: I want you to remember three things this Christmas:

  1. When we look at the circumstances of that first Christmas, it might very well be considered “bad news”.

  2. But when we look at Christmas from God's view, it is good news.

  3. Finally, there is one more lesson here. Whatever circumstances you may find yourself in, take time to look at your life from God's perspective.


ºMuch of this sermon is based on material in Beth Moore's book Jesus:90 Days With The One And Only. B&H Publishing (2007).

1Streiker, L. D. (2000). Nelson's big book of laughter: Thousands of smiles from A to Z (electronic ed.) (282). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

2Wiersbe, W. W. (1996, c1989). The Bible exposition commentary. (Lk 2:1). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.

3Tan, P. L. (1996, c1979). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : A treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers. Garland TX: Bible Communications.

4Balz, H. R., & Schneider, G. (1990-c1993). Exegetical dictionary of the New Testament. Translation of: Exegetisches Worterbuch zum Neuen Testament. (1:1). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans.

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