December 24, 2023
CELEBRATE THE LORD
We know that Christmas is a season that is loved by many and is hated by others. Yet, regardless of which side of that issue you fall on, this much is true: the Christmas season is a time filled with many mixed messages and with pagan and worldly rituals. I mean, this is supposed to be one time in the year when the world remembers the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, and every year we muddy the waters of truth by allowing the Scriptural meaning of the season to be mingles with other messages that have their beginning in the world. Now, I enjoy Christmas as much as the next person, but I just want you to be aware that there are some terrible misconceptions surrounding the true meaning of the season. To many it all about money, commercialism, and greed. Others see it as a time for parties, meals, and get-togethers. Many children know Christmas only as a time for Santa, Rudolph the Red-nosed reindeer, and other equally foolish fairy tales. As a result, some children have no idea what the true meaning of Christmas is all about.
A little boy came home from Sunday School. He was so excited about learning about the Wise Men who brought gifts to the baby Jesus. He was so excited that he had to tell his mother. He says, “” I learned today in Sunday School all about the first Christmas. There was not a Santa Claus way back then, so these three fellows on camels had to deliver all the toys. And Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer with his nose so bright wasn’t there so they had to have this big spotlight in the sky to find their way around.”
Someone has compared Santa Claus and the Lord Jesus in a piece called “Santa Versus Jesus.”
· Santa lives at the North Pole. Jesus lives everywhere.
· Santa rides in a sleigh. Jesus rides on the wind and walks on the water.
· Santa comes once a year. Jesus is an ever-present help.
· Santa comes down your chimney. Jesus stands at your door of your heart and Knocks.
· Santa fills your stockings with goodies. Jesus supplies all your needs.
· You must wait in line to see Santa. Jesus is as close as the mention of His name.
· Santa lets you sit in his lap. Jesus holds you in His hands.
· Santa has a belly like a bowl of jelly. Jesus has a heart of love.
· Santa’s little helpers make new toys. Jesus became out gift and died on a tree.
The Christmas season is about our relationship with the Lord and about learning to celebrate His glory and His goodness. In our lesson today, we will spend a few minutes looking at this great anthem of praise and join Mary in her celebration of the Lord, as I preach on the subject, Celebrate the Lord.
I. MARY CELEBRATES THE LORD FOR PERSONAL GRACE v. 46-49
A. She Has Been Redeemed v. 46-47 – Like the rest of us, Mary was born in sin and stood in need of a Savior. In verse 47, she declares her dependence upon God in Heaven for salvation. She is simply praising the Lord for the salvation she possesses.
Your life may be falling apart this morning, but if you have been redeemed by the precious Blood of Jesus, then you have a reason to celebrate the Lord!
B. She Had Been Regarded v. 48a – Mary is telling Elizabeth that she is a nobody, but she has experienced the grace of God first hand. She said, “For he took notice of his lowly servant girl.” Mary knows that she does not deserve wonderful favor of the Lord that has been extended to her. Yet, the Lord did it anyway.
Again, we have another reason to rejoice! We who are saved, have been chosen, called, and saved by pure grace.
C. She Has Been Rewarded v. 48b-49 – Mary realizes that God is doing something pretty wonderful through her life. After all, Mary will be the means by which the God of eternity enters human history. Her reward was in fact that God was to be glorified and that others would be blessed by her actions.
Every one of us in this room can say that God has done great things for us! Think of the benefits that are yours as a child of God.
II. MARY CELEBRATES THE LORD FOR PERPETUAL GRACE v. 50-53
A. The Permanence Of His Grace v. 50 – God’s grace is to be revealed to every generation, until the return of Christ to this earth.
The grace of God is operating right now. There is grace to save sinners.
B. The Performance of His Grace v. 51-52 – In one great act, God has reversed the order of society. Those who considered great by men will be brought low, while those who trust in the Lord, though they may be poor and humble, will be exalted by their faith in the Lord.
Remember, only those who are willing to humble themselves before the Lord can expect anything from the Lord. Salvation comes to the humble – Matt. 18:3. Those who are willing to admit their sin, can expect to be saved. Those who are willing to admit their need, can expect to have it met.
C. The Promise of His Grace v. 53 – Mary reminds us that those who realize their lack can come to the Lord and be filled, while those who think they have need of nothing can expect exactly that from God.
Many people today believe that they don’t need God’s grace. They believe that they can make it on material possessions and be saved. I am here to tell the church that we better celebrate God’s perpetual grace!
III. MARY CELEBRATES THE LORD FOR PERFORMED GRACE v. 54-55
Mary praises the Lord, not only for His blessings in her life and for His blessings upon successive generations, but she also praises the Lord for remembering to do what He has promised to do. She exalts His Name because He did not forget her people, the Jews.
A. God Remembers His Promises v. 54 – God had remembered His promise to the Jews that He would send a Messiah. The people desperately needed God’s mercy and grace of deliverance. The Jews were enslaved by the Romans; therefore, they were frantic in their search for deliverance, so frantic many were turning to false messiahs and other answers to escape their plight. Some were even finding their security in the Roman state and in humanistic answers instead of God. If a people ever needed God to remember His promises, it was the Jews. Mary celebrates the Lord for keeping His promises.
May I remind you that the Lord still keeps His promises!
B. God Remembers His People v. 55 – Mary rejoices that God did not forget about His people of Israel. They were His people and still are.
We have reasons to celebrate the Lord because of His promise in Heb. 13:5.
Will you help me celebrate the Lord, stand to your feet!
Responsive Reading: Luke 1:46-55