By Tim Frank
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Carthage
This is the week we have looked forward to throughout the year. The retail stores began decorating for this season well before Thanksgiving. Christmas presents have been bought and wrapped in many homes for weeks. In fact, most church and community Christmas events have come and gone. All that remains is the celebration of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Each year, we are reminded of the hustle and bustle of Christmas. The excessive spending and the constant activity of the season can cause one to miss the true meaning of the season. On this Sunday before Christmas, may we slow down and focus on the One whose birth we celebrate. Let us remember Jesus and worship Him as the literal, physical, and eternal Son of God.
Luke 1:26-38 tells the account of the angel Gabriel’s visit and announcement to a young, Jewish virgin named Mary. Some would wish to make Mary the center of the story; however her position is one of humble, willing sacrifice and submission to the work of God.
In verse 38, she verbally accepts her role as the handmaid, servant of God. Gabriel’s message to Mary is that she will be the mother of God’s Son. He assures her that she is honored, favored, and specifically chosen for this task. The angel Gabriel then begins to praise the Son she will bear. His name will be Jesus which means Jehovah saves!
He will be called and recognized as the actual Son of the Highest, of God Himself. Her Son will be great, renowned, and powerful. In fact, He will rule the house of Jacob forever from the throne of the great King David.
Mary’s question was how; how can this be since I do not know (sexually know) a man? She did not doubt God’s ability but considered what the angel was saying to her. The answer Gabriel gives is filled with awe, wonder, and the supernatural workings of God.
In this miraculous conception, the three persons of the Godhead are involved. Mary is told the Holy Spirit will come upon her and the power of God will overshadow her. A similar phrase is used concerning the glory of the Lord filling the tabernacle in Exodus 40:35 to such an extent that Moses could not physically enter. God’s essence, His glory, His Son would enter into Mary’s womb supernaturally, and she would become the mother of God. The One who would be born would be the Son of God!
The wonder and glory of Christmas is in the fact that the baby who was conceived in the Virgin Mary’s womb was, at the moment of conception, God in the flesh. John 1:1-3, 14 tells us He was eternal with God, and He was the very essence of God.
Philippians 2:5-7 says at the moment of conception, the co-eternal, co-equal second Person of the Godhead became obedient to the will of God, taking on the appearance of a man, and remaining obedient even to death on the cross.
The first born child of Mary was more than just a Jewish baby boy, wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in a manger. He was and still is Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, the Savior of the world. Let this week be filled with celebration as you proclaim the birth of Jesus, God’s only begotten Son.