God’s Gift of Grace at Christmas

Luke 1:26-38, 46-49

A man is leaning on a farm gate, watching the
farmer round up some sheep when he realizes that
the farmer isn’t using a sheepdog, but rather a pig.
What’s more, the pig, which is expertly
maneuvering the sheep into a pen, only has three
legs.

“Excuse me,” says the man to the farmer,
“but why has that pig only got three legs?”

“Let me tell you a bit about that pig”, says the farmer.
“That pig not only herds my sheep,
he also crows in the morning, milks
the cows morning and night and
collects the eggs from the hens.”
“And that’s not all!”, he continued, “that pig can count!
He counts so well that he does all the farm accounts and fills
in my tax forms.” “What an amazing pig!” Says the
man.

“I ain’t finished!”, says the farmer. “Two
years ago, my farmhouse caught fire and the pig
called the fire brigade and then fetched water from
the river to douse the flames in the hall. He then
fought his way through the smoke to where my
wife and children lay unconscious and dragged
them from the burning house.”

“Wow!”, says the man, “that really is an incredible pig.
But I still don’t understand why he only has three legs.”

“Ah, well”, says the farmer, “when you have a pig that is
that special, you don’t eat him all at once…”.

Today we are going to look at the prediction of the birth
of Jesus. As we study the Scriptures, I’m sure you will
notice some similarities between this story and the one of
the prediction of the birth of John the Baptist.

Luke 1:26-38

Greeting from Gabriel

We remember Gabriel from last week when we discussed
the predicted birth of John the Baptist to Zacharias and
Elizabeth. Same angel, different birth announcement.

This time Gabriel has come to the virgin Mary with a
greeting. He actually uses the word, Greetings and then
calls her favored one and says the Lord is with her.
What does this mean? Favored?
It comes from the root word which we translate grace.
A literal translation of the word here would be “to make
graceful” or “endow with grace”

Think of it this way. The angel Gabriel is delivering a
message that she will be delivering a baby, and not just
an ordinary baby. The savior of the world!
The Bible says Mary was very perplexed at this statement
and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was.
Imagine the thoughts going through her mind:
Why am I favored?
What is God doing?
Why is there an angel here?

What did I do to deserve this?
How is the Lord with me?
Then the angel tells her not to be afraid because she has
found favor with God.
There it is again, favor with God.
It’s normal for an angel to come on the scene and tell
people not to be afraid, but it’s not typical for them to
call someone favored. Mary was chosen by God to fulfill
His perfect plan.

Grace Finds Mary
Grace is when we get what we don’t deserve
Grace is defined as unmerited favor.
God selected Mary to be the mother of the Messiah.
Gabriel continues to tell her how the birth will come
about. Let’s look at vv.31-33 of Luke 1
“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and
bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will
be great and will be called the Son of the Most
High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of
His father David; and He will reign over the house
of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no
end.”

Mary didn’t go looking for God’s grace, He found her by
sending an angel to her to give her the good news.
It’s the same way with God’s love,
We don’t love Him and then He loves us back.
It’s the other way around.
We love because He loved us first. I John 4:10

And it’s all made possible because of His grace.
We were sinners by nature from birth, but God saw fit to
send Jesus to earth to save us from our sin and forgive
us from our unrighteousness.
Grace found Mary and it finds us too!

Not only is Mary going to have a son, she is going to
have God’s Son.
John was going to be great in the sight of the Lord.
Jesus IS the Lord. And He is great! In the sight of
everyone
Mary is going to give birth to God incarnate.
Grace found her and she accepted it.
Sadly there are people out there that hear about God’s
amazing grace and still refuse it.
They either think they don’t need it or they aren’t worthy
of it. It’s sad to think that this amazing free gift is
available to all who would believe, but some still just
don’t believe! Mary believed and God used her mightily

Gift from God

Motherhood is a gift in and of itself.
We talked last week about how much joy a baby brings.
This birth was going to be unlike any other before it or
after it. Let’s look at the details.

Luke 1:34-35 “Mary said to the angel,
‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel answered and
said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow
you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be
called the Son of God.’”

A gift like no other

Jesus was not conceived like any ordinary child.
The Holy Spirit came upon Mary and caused the child to
be created in her womb. It was a miracle only God could
do. As I mentioned moments ago, there has never been a
birth like the birth of Christ.
God showcased His power and uniqueness by sending the
Holy Spirit to place a baby in a virgin’s womb.

The gift that keeps on giving

In Matthew we read that Jesus came to save people from
their sins.
Jesus isn’t just the greatest gift ever, He is the gift that
provides eternal life.
All who place their faith in Him will be forgiven of their
sin and receive the gift of eternal life.

Gratitude to God

When Gabriel shared his message with Zacharias, he
questioned how he would know for sure that his elderly
wife would in fact have a baby. Because of his doubt the
angel took away his voice until after the baby was born.

In today’s text Mary doesn’t doubt what she is being told,
she just asks how it will happen since she is still a virgin.

In today’s text Mary doesn’t doubt what she is being told,
she just asks how it will happen since she is still a virgin.

In v.38 we see her accept the news and prepare to be a
vessel used by God, “may it be done to me according
to your word.”

She believed and was willing to do exactly what God
asked of her.

I want to end with her response recorded in vv.46-49
of Luke 1.

She is grateful to the Lord
She rejoices in what He has done
She understands that every generation will count her as
blessed.

We see Mary’s response to God’s grace at Christmas,
What will our response be?

APPLICATION

We must keep in mind that God is with us
His name Emmanuel means God with us.
He has sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in us.
Because of that we ought to be:

Be Grace Givers
God has given us so much grace.
If you pause to ponder His grace as Mary did, you will
most likely feel the same way she did.

How could God give His grace to me in this way?
I don’t deserve it. Why did He choose me?

But then we ought to treat others with the same grace
that God gives us.
Too often we expect those who don’t know God to act like
those who do!
It’s an unrealistic expectation.
What we ought to do is treat them like God treats us and
love them despite their sin and share the good news of
the gospel with them.

INVITATION
For the unbeliever your response this Christmas should
be to receive the most generous incredible gift of God’s
grace. The Bible tells us to confess with our mouth Jesus
as Lord and believe in our heart that God raised Him
from the dead and we will be saved.
It’s how you receive the gift of God’s grace.
Will you receive His gift of grace this morning?