I Need You Christmas: Learning from Mary
If you are like most people, you are ready – really ready – for Christmas. 2020 and 2021 have taken their toll. Lots of us didn’t feel comfortable going out on Halloween. We were told not to gather for Thanksgiving. But Christmas… that’s different. No virus can keep us from decorating our house, buying presents, baking cookies, sending cards, playing music, and getting our Christmas tree. But how can we celebrate all that is Christmas in the deepest and most powerful way? That’s what this series “I Need You Christmas” is going to explore. It will have you remembering why it’s the most wonderful time of the year.
Bottom Line: Christmas is all about a posture.
Something To Talk About:
- The story of the Angel and Mary is found in Luke 1:26:38. Despite being greatly troubled at the words of this angel, Mary’s response shows great faithfulness. ”I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to do whatever he wants. May everything you said come true.” ( Luke (1:38 TLB) She’s not afraid to voice her questions, but in the end, she chooses obedience. Like Mary, we don’t need to have all the answers to say, “I am the Lord’s servant.” In fact, faith is all about stepping out in obedience even when we don’t.
- Can you imagine what Mary was feeling when she received Gabriel’s message that she would be the mother of Jesus. Mary found herself in circumstances she could not explain. The social ramifications of her pregnancy were daunting, and she must have experienced moments of fear and uncertainty.
- Would you be willing to take the risk? Let’s think for a minute about what this really meant for Mary. It meant pregnancy outside of marriage. This carried a huge stigma: It meant possibly losing the man she was engaged to marry, embarrassment, financial hardship. Would she be willing to accept what Gabriel said?
- Mary is a powerful example of faith. Mary’s response to her circumstances at a young age is remarkable. God’s taking notice of her and choosing her is remarkable. We see Mary’s thoughts on what is happening to her in Luke.1.46-55. How she expresses these thoughts shows that this young woman knew her scripture. This young woman had a proper respect for God and His authority. Often, like Mary, we find ourselves in circumstances we did not choose. As Christians our powerful witness to the world lies in how we choose to react to situations. This posture of grace, perseverance and joy in the face of difficulty does not come easily — it comes from unwavering faith in God.
- Mary demonstrates the power of pure faith. When you look at her accomplishments, it might not seem like she did very much. But her obedience changed the course of history. Sometimes the most profound thing we can do with our lives is to wholeheartedly say, “I am the Lord’s servant.”
- In the birth announcement of the Son of God, the angel Gabriel extols to Mary the greatness of her soon to be child. Her baby will be the long awaited Messiah, whose promised coming was foretold centuries before. God has chosen to bring His only begotten Son into the world through a poor humble virgin who lives in a very humble town called Nazareth. Why do you think God would do this? What does this tell you about God and the kinds of things He values?
- What progression do you see in Mary’s responses in Luke 1:29, 34, 38? Have you ever experienced going from confusion to questioning to faith? What was the situation?
- Why do you think God chose Mary? Why would God choose to bless you and me?
- What do you learn from this story about how God views human wealth, power, prestige and popularity? How should this impact the way you live your life?
- We see in Luke 1:38 Mary’s beautiful and godly submission to God. In spite of the impending scandal and uncertain future because of her pregnancy before marriage, she willingly submits herself to the will of God. She trusted in God even when she couldn’t see how any of this would work out. What do you think helped Mary to respond with such faith and trust?
- How does Mary’s faith and submission to God’s will help you to trust and believe in God?
- What does her response teach us about living with faith? Mary glorified God for three specific attributes—His power, holiness, and mercy. How do we glorify God for His power, holiness, and mercy?
- How will you or your group put into practice what you’ve learned today?
Take one thing home with you:
Take a moment and reflect on the glory that is Christmas. Far more than just the birth of a baby – it is the truth that God became a man. Hebrews 2:17 says: “Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people.” That was part of God’s plan—to give us a Savior who understands everything because He has experienced everything, yet without sinning. In order for Jesus to be fully man, He had to be born in the same way as every other man. What Christmas reminds us is that our God is not a God who is distant from us, Who is out there somewhere. This is a God Who knows our name, Who cares what we are doing, Who wants to be in relation with us, and Who loves us so much that He gave us Jesus, Who was born like us, Who lived like us, Who died like us and Who was raised from the dead so that we too might have eternal life.