Tag Archives: Mary

Rediscovering the Christmas Season XV – Impossible!


Impossible

Exposure: Read the passage about the arrival of an improbable baby and an impossible baby. God is setting the stage in this dramatic way for the advent of Jesus Christ—who would be characterized by doing the impossible.

Exploration: Why do you think God delights in doing the impossible?

Expression: Is God asking you to believe something that seems impossible right now? Write down something you want to ask Him for this Christmas that seems impossible.

Experience: Discuss with friends or family or journal about a time in your life when you had to depend on Jesus to do the impossible. Read the verse about our God of the impossible out loud wherever you are.

LUKE 1:1-80 NKJV

Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed. There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.

So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him,  he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.”

And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.” And the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he lingered so long in the temple. But when he came out, he could not speak to them; and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he beckoned to them and remained speechless.  So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house. Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying, “Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one,  the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” But when she saw him,  she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus . He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” And the angel answered and said to her, “ The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy, As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever.” And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her house.

Now Elizabeth’s full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son. When her neighbors and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her, they rejoiced with her. So it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias. His mother answered and said, “No; he shall be called John.” But they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name.” So they made signs to his father—what he would have him called. And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, “His name is John.” So they all marveled. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God. Then fear came on all who dwelt around them; and all these sayings were discussed throughout all the hill country of Judea. And all those who heard them  kept them in their hearts, saying, “What kind of child will this be?” And the hand of the Lord was with him.

Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying: “Blessed  is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people, And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of His servant David, As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, Who have  been  since the world began, That we should be saved from our enemies And from the hand of all who hate us, To perform the mercy promised to our fathers And to remember His holy covenant, The oath which He swore to our father Abraham: To grant us that we, Being delivered from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life. “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.” So the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel.

JEREMIAH 32:17 NKJV

‘Ah, Lord God ! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.

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Rediscovering the Christmas Season December 2nd


The Announcement

Exposure: Read the opening chapter of the New Testament—the account of Joseph, the earthly father God chose for His Son.

Exploration: Consider how the weight of generations of expectations affected Joseph’s ability to step into such an awesome role. What do you think was going through Joseph’s mind when the angel showed up and told them about Jesus?

Expression: How would you have felt if you were Joseph? Discuss with a friend or journal about what this announcement meant to Joseph and to all of us.

Experience: Have you had an experience where God asked you to do something that seemed ridiculous? Make a plan this Christmas season to do something ridiculous that you know God wants you to do.

MAT 1:1-25 NIV

This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:   Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,   Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram,   Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon,   Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse,   and Jesse the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,   Solomon the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa,   Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram, Jehoram the father of Uzziah,   Uzziah the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,   Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, Amon the father of Josiah,   and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.   After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,   Zerubbabel the father of Abihud, Abihud the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor,   Azor the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, Akim the father of Elihud,   Elihud the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob,   and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.   Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.   This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about : His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.   But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”   All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).   When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

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