Who are you at the Birth of Christ?
Zechariah and Mary:
Luke 1: 5-20
5 In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. 7 But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years. 8 Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on duty, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense. 10 Now at the time of the incense offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. 11 Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. 14 You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. 16 He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” 18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.” 19 The angel replied, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day these things occur.”
God chose an old barren woman and an old priest that was just doing his job to be a part of the coming of the Christ. I Know what you are thinking. That was a harsh punishment for not believing but I want you to think about what this man was. Zechariah was a grown man who was a priest of the most high God. If God or God’s angels were going to come to anyone with a message it was going to be him. When people came to him he was the one who would speak for God and tell people to believe and obey. He would have been the one who read the Torah to the people and told them the story of Rachael and Isaac. So it was a bit hypocritical to doubt so much. Zechariah was given a lot of explanation of what was to happen and why. It wasn’t like Gabriel just said you are going to have a baby and left it at that. This child was given a destiny and instructions on what he should and should not do. Zechariah was already married and was having normal relations with his wife, you would think. I mean after being married for as long as they had been you would think he knew how babies were made and there was no shame in them getting pregnant. Are we like Zechariah and doubt everything God tells us even if we have seen it happen to others and live long enough to know God can do everything, or are we more like Mary?
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 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. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36 And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
God chose a young girl that was strong but in the eyes of everyone was no one special. Mary was young and did not have life yet she accepted her calling and believed. The girl was only about 12 years old. She was engaged and waiting till her soon to be husband would come and take her to fulfill the contract she had entered into with him. She was preparing her home and herself for her new life and a surprise baby that she did not know where it came from was not in her thoughts of her future. Mary had never been with a man and yet she accepted her calling and believed. On top of this it is possible she had been told what will happen when she gets married but it was all just stories from others experiences. She would have know how they were made but never experienced it because she would have helped with births. This had to have been the most confusing part and God knew this so God’s messenger to her how. Mary knew this child would bring shame to her and could possibly loose her her future and fiance jet she accepted her calling and believed. She knew that she could be thrown out of her community and astrosised for being pregnant. She could even be stoned for such a thing because of what it implies. Mary did not understand how this could happen jet no mater the consequences she accepted her calling and believed. Are we like Mary? When we are called do we not look at what the world says the consequences might be and just believe and accept our calling? But what about the Shepherds? They were just minding their own business and then….Bam!!!!!
8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
God chose the lower class to celebrate the coming of the Christ. The shepherds were considered the lower class and jet they were who the angels came to to tell about the birth of Jesus. It was said that you can’t trust a shepherd because they are all just story tellers and they have been out with their sheep to long. They always smelled because they lived with their sheep and were not accepted in polite company yet they where the one God chose to not only know about the birth of the Christ first but where the ones God chose to celebrate with and send to Mary and Joseph to encourage them and give them the story of their encounter with the angels. This was used to put hope and joy in their hearts and it is said that Mary held this in her heart. Are we like the shepherds who the world looks and says who are they and yet when we are show the glory of God we run to see the face of God and live in that joy. Are we like Mary who holds that joy in her heart so that we can have the understanding for later and have hope for tomorrow?
Simeon and Anna:
Luke 2: 21-38
21 After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. 22 When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), 24 and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, 29 “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” 33 And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” 36 There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
God Chose a devout man and woman who were not priest but who had in their own ways given their lives to God to be a part of the coming of the Christ. Simeon and Anna both knew something was coming and were willing to give up time and pleasure to wait to see the coming of the Christ. They both spent every waking hour in the temple waiting for what God had promised them. The could have both been like, “Well I waited so long and obviously this is not going to happen.” Simeon and Anna did not care that they were old and tired but waited to see the Christ. And they were rewarded with the most amazing gift. They both got to see the Christ before they died. Not only did See him but they held him and blessed him. They got to bless God in carnit. How huge is that? Are we like Simeon and Anna? Do we believe so much that we will wait our whole live to see the fulfillment of the promises we have been given? These beautiful people were a part of the birth of the crist into this world and every single one of them brought something different to the experience. God chose to use these amazing people that the world did not even see to play the biggest parts in our salvation, the birth of Jesus. God chooses the people the world does not see to change the world, to bless those in need, and to give hope to those in hard times. All we have to do is be willing to believe and accept our calling no matter how long it takes or how hard it is to live in or believe in.