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Christmas is about Bearing Jesus
A sermon based on Luke 1:26-38
by Rev. Delmar Wright

A Mother invited some people to dinner. At the table she turned to her 6-year-old daughter and said, "Would you like to say the blessing?" The little girl said, "I wouldn't know what to say." The mother said, "Just say what you hear Mommy say." The little girl bowed her head and said: "Dear Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?"

Children can pick up the dankest things from their parents. They learn everything from vocabulary to habits--for better and for worse.  Think about the huge influence your mother had on your life. For most of us, our Mom had a lot to do with who and what we are right now. And that's the same with Jesus.

We always attribute Jesus' wise words, his compassion, his care for others to the fact that He was God incarnate-- that's true-- But we should not forget that he was also a man. He was a person like you and me; when he was growing up, he probably goofed off too at times, he probably had his silly days as well.  In fact, some of those stories from his childhood have been preserved in other writings about Jesus. 

Some of these writings didn't make it into the canon of the bible, yet they are fascinating to read.  I just recently got a copy of the Gospel of Thomas; it may not be canonical, but it makes for some interesting reading. 

Let's not forget that for all the Godly attributes --Jesus was human too.  In fact, he was born like any other baby, crying and fussing just like the rest of them. And like any other baby he came into the life of his mother-and turned her world upside down.

Our text this morning contains what scholars call the "Annunciation" --an angel announced to Mary that God was planning to make her "with child."  The annunciation is very important in theology.  Because according to Christian theology, God does not force anything on us-not even God's blessings.  A human response is required.

We know that Mary was about fifteen years old when the angel appeared to her.  We must consider, though, that in the first-century Judean culture, it was not unusual to get married and bear children at age fifteen. Even to this day, we find this to be common in the Middle East-especially in the Arab culture.

So, Mary meets an angel while she is visiting with a relative. Can you imagine getting up at  night and suddenly in the middle of the room this bright angelic presence appears who starts speaking to you:

"Greetings Favored One, The Lord is With You."

I don't think it would matter what words were spoken; I would either faint or turn and run like the dickens.

Mary must have been pretty courageous; she just stood there and listened. Or maybe she was just paralyzed with fear?

"Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.

He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."

Put yourself in Mary's shoes.  The angel has a proposition for her which would get in the way of her plans and her life in general.  Wait, Mr. Angel, I'm not ready for this now, can you come back after I'm married to Joseph?  O yes, and what  will he say to this?

Why on earth would you and I say yes to such a proposition?  Why did Mary say yes to such a proposition?

I just thank God that she did agree.  Mary accepted God's gift with the words: "Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word."

The promise is so compelling, the hope so wonderful, she is so consumed by it, that the rest hardly seems to matter. She submits - willingly, consciously. She is offered a gift, and abandons herself.  She is like that man Jesus talked about who found a great treasure buried in a field and he went and sold everything he had to buy that piece of land.

Could we do as much? Will we do as much? For the sake of God's promise, are we willing to lay our worldly hopes and dreams aside? Are we willing to accept this great gift of Jesus, the great gift of salvation?

Without accepting the gift of Jesus there cannot be a true Christmas.  We too are asked to carry Jesus.  God does not force any gift on us; God does not force Godself on us. . . ever.  God always extends an invitation to us.

And when God does, we need to reach out and accept it.  Are we ready to carry Jesus and let him turn our lives upside down? Mary carried him in her body, we are asked to carry him in our heart.  Either way will bring drastic challenges and will turn our lives upside down.

The greatest gift we can give to God this Christmas is to accept Jesus into our life and heart all over again.  I pray that you and I will both be able to say with Mary: "Here I am, the servant of the Lord; Let it be with me according to your word."   Amen.