Tidings of Comfort and Joy (Part 2)

Two weeks ago, we saw that the story of Mary and the angel Gabriel in Luke 1:26-38 is not only a Christmas story, it is also a story of comfort. 14.12.22And this Sunday in Luke 1:46-55 we see that this Christmas story is also a story of joy.

When Mary goes to visit Elizabeth to confirm the angel's message, Elizabeth's baby leaps for joy and Mary bursts out in song: "My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior..."

Mary rejoices in three things in this passage:

1) Mary rejoices in what God has done for her (v.46-49). What is striking about Mary is her utter lack of self-focus, she merely takes in joy in being able to be used by God! She isn't filled with self-doubt - "Will I be a good mother to the Messiah? Why did God choose me?" and she isn't filled with pride, "I must be awesome for God to have chosen me to be the mother of the Messiah!" Instead her praise and focus is on God her Savior.

2) Mary rejoices in what God has done for those who fear Him (v.50-53). When we truly understand God's mercy, our natural response is joy and repentance.God's mercy is not just towards the Jewish people but it is extended to the Gentiles as well, "to all who fear Him."

3) Mary rejoices in God's faithfulness to His promise to Israel (v.54-55). Throughout all of Israel's tumultuous history, God promised that He would send a Savior, that there would be a king on David's throne who would reign forever. In the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ over 300 prophesies about Jesus in the Old Testament were fulfilled.

If God's Word and promise proved true about the birth and coming of Jesus, then God's word and promise will be proved true about judgement and hell and especially about God's salvation and rescue through Christ.

What can we rejoice in this day? 1) what God has done for us - by Christ's blood we are forgiven and cleansed and made new; 2) what God has done for those who fear Him: we are privileged to be able to invite others to experience God's mercy and love by how we live and love in this world; 3) God's faithfulness to His promise. Because God was faithful to Israel regarding the Messiah, we can be certain that God will be faithful to the promise of His coming eternal kingdom and we can live hopeful and faithful lives in expectation of that.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!