Mary, the mother of Jesus, can identify with the unusual events of Christmas. She had the most unusual experience of all — a young teenaged girl, told by an angel that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and she would be with child and give birth to the Son of God!
And her response was remarkable. She said in Luke 1:38, “I am the Lord’s servant.”
This Sunday we learn lessons from Mary about how to deal with an unusual Christmas.Read More
Last week I explained the intensifying dynamic that happens during the Christmas season: how our highs get higher and our lows get lower because of all the memories and emotions that well up in our spirits during the Christmas holiday.
Many of you shared that you identify with this.
This is going to be an unusual Christmas for some of you.
Your highs are going to be higher this Christmas season because some blessing has come into your life.
You can’t wait for Christmas Eve.
You can’t wait to be around the tree on Christmas day.
You’re filled with worship to God for the new blessing that he’s poured into your life.
And then, of course, others of you said this is going to be the most unusual and difficult Christmas you’ve ever faced. It’s going to be hard to get through this one.
There’s going to be an empty chair at the table.
There’s going to be someone missing from the gift exchange.
Last week we looked at Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph, and we learned how despite some unusual circumstances that came his way, he learned how to keep his head. He learned how to keep his faith even though it was a difficult season. He kept his hand in God’s hand, even though there were some difficulties that came his way.
And, hopefully, we all derived some inspiration from Joseph.
Today we’re going to look at Joseph’s counterpart in the Christmas story.
This young girl, probably thirteen-years-old. She’s from a small town. Her whole world was turned upside down when out of nowhere an angel appeared to her and said these words:
The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”
And then Mary says these incredible words we read in Luke 1:38:
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
Those are just phenomenal words. It’s such a rich passage.
And it’s all about the unusual events surrounding the first Christmas.
An angel comes to this young girl named Mary when she’s engaged.
As a general rule, when a girl gets engaged and is planning for her wedding, it’s not a good time to throw a wrench into her plans.
In our day when a girl gets engaged, you can tell because she walks around proudly displaying her ring.
And her life is all about the wedding.
My 12-year-old daughter loves bride magazines. Do you have any idea how many bride magazines there are? I looked at one of her stacks this week. She has
New York Bride
Now, I want to ask you a question: have any of you ever seen a magazine called “Modern Groom”?
No! Because no one cares about the groom or what the groom looks like.
A groom at a wedding is a little like restrooms in an art gallery. You have to have them, but no one goes to look at one.
So Mary is engaged — she’s going to get married.
Then her life takes an unusual turn.
An angel appears to her in verse 28.
The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Now notice verse 29. It says:
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.
She was “greatly troubled,” not just troubled.
Why is that?
Well, this is precisely the kind of greeting that the angel of God would bring to someone in the Old Testament who is going to be given a difficult assignment.
We see this classically in Judges 6:12. An angel comes to Gideon. Gideon is hiding from the Midianites and the angel says, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
Gideon finds out he’s going to have to go up against the Midianites.
We’re going to see in a little while that Mary knew her Old Testament. You’d be surprised how well she knew the Old Testament. Mary understood immediately that there’s going to be a deep challenge associated with this greeting, “The Lord is with you.”
The angel is saying, “Mary you’re not going to have a safe, secure, quiet, respectable life. The Lord is with you. You will go on quite an adventure, but it’s not going to be the one that a young teenage girl generally dreams about. God has something far more demanding to ask of you. God is going to do something rather unusual with your life.”
God often works this way.
How often in the Bible does an angel speak to someone and say, “The Lord is with you and now your life is going to get easier and more comfortable“? How often do you read a statement like that from an angel of God?
We often pray for that, don’t we? “Lord, be with me.”
One of the ways you can recognize God is speaking to you is usually it’s a call to servanthood.
It’s not a call to convenience, ease, wealth or power. It’s usually a call to servanthood.
Like when it’s this time of the year when it starts to freeze in the early morning and the coats come out… and you suddenly think you hear God calling you to serve him in Maui.
Has this happened to you?
This actually happened to me. A ministry recruiter called me just after we decided to start this church. He said, “I have the perfect job for you. It’s a teaching pastor job in a church that fits perfectly with your philosophy of ministry. It’s a church of about 1,000 people… in Maui.”
I had to really listen to see if it was God speaking to me.
Usually when God speaks to someone he calls them to serve.
Some people, Mary and Joseph, the Magi, the shepherds, they say, “Yes.”
Some people like Herod… Herod’s got an agenda. Herod has no intent on listening to God.
Let’s make this personal — what about you? What about me?
You know, I can get so focused on my own little agenda. It may not be a bad one, but I can get so focused on it that I insulate myself from the very thing I most desire, which is the adventure of God partnering with me in my life.
What if what looks somewhat unusual in your day is actually a part of the plan of God, is actually God nudging you, whispering to you
Maybe to help someone.
Maybe to encourage someone who is discouraged.
Maybe to serve a neighbor who needs your help.
Maybe to listen to someone who’s in pain even though you think you’re busy.
Let me ask you this: How is God going to speak to you?
Maybe he’ll use an angel to do it… although my guess is it probably won’t be an angel.
Maybe it will be your spouse. You might think it’s an angel at first… or you might want to pretend like you think it’s an angel at first.
Maybe it will be a person – a friend or someone you know.
Maybe it will be someone you don’t know at all.
Maybe it will be a need.
Maybe it will be a thought that comes to you of some way that you can help another person.
How do you respond when God speaks to you?
This brings us to one of the great statements in Scripture. I’m going to read this great statement the angel says in verse 37. This is from the NASB.
And for some of you, you need to write these words down.
You’re facing unusual events in your own life as Mary did in hers, and you just need to have these words tattooed on your brain:
For nothing is impossible with God.
Whatever God is asking you to do, he’s going to enable you to do it — for nothing is impossible with God.
It’s one of the greatest statements ever uttered.
If there’s a greater one in all the Bible, it might be the next verse. These are amazing words:
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”
That is a very strong statement.
There are, in New Testament Greek, two general terms for servant.
One is “dia-ko-nos,” and is often used for servant.
The stronger one, “dou-los,” means slave, which is even lower in the power hierarchy.
That’s the word Mary uses. “I am the Lord’s bondservant,” the old King James translates it. “May it be to me as you have said.”
“May it be so… I’m not in control. God, it’s your initiative, but I’m not passive either. I have my own decision to make with it… but I choose to want what you want. May it be so.”
I want to talk about this verse for a moment, because if you’re like me these can be very moving words when you see them in the Bible.
I can read these words: “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.”
I can see them. I can sing them. I can get real moved.
And when I watch myself get so moved, I can think I’m like Mary.
I’m a servant too because I get real moved by those words.
Yet when the price gets too high, if it’s going to cost me too much money or time or effort, then I don’t want to be moved anymore.
If it’s going to get hard emotionally or disrupt my lifestyle too much, I want to reserve the right to bail out. I don’t want to be a slave, a dou-los. I want to reserve the right to bail out.
In theory, I’m a servant and I can be real moved by the language of servanthood, but my actions and choices sometimes tell me a different story. They tell me I’m running the show.
I think of a couple who were invited to be a part of a church, and this would involve a move to another part of the country and a career change.
Initially they were very excited, because this was precisely in line with their gifts, and they had a real sense that God was in it. That doesn’t mean God wants everyone to go into church work. Not at all. But in their case, it seemed to be the clear and right thing to do.
Then when they went to visit the city, they found out that the housing market was tighter, more difficult, more expensive. And they couldn’t get a bigger house than the house they were currently in… and so they said, “No.”
They said no to what had initially been clear to them as the call of God on their life… because of a house. The wife said, “I know God wouldn’t want us to move into a house like what we would be able to afford there.”
The question is… am I really the Lord’s servant, or is it just nice, moving language to use… until the cost gets too high?
Sometimes I think we kind of glamorize or romanticize what Mary did.
It works a little like this.
I think to myself, “If an angel came to me and told me to go to a foreign country, give up my job, make a huge sacrifice, I’d do it. I’d say yes. God, just give me a noble calling like that. Tell me what great thing you want me to do with my life, and I’ll obey it. Just say the word.”
I can say that internally. “I think I’m just like Mary. I’m a servant. I’m a slave to God.”
Then I’m at home doing what I want to do and one of my kids says to me, “Dad, can you help me with my school project?”
Where does Mr. Servant go then?
My wife says, “Matt, the hall light is burned out.”
I distinctly hear someone inside my head saying, “I think there’s a ladder in the garage.”
I think to myself, “God, I’ll obey an angel. I’ll say yes to some great, noble, glamorous call. Just tell me what you want me to do. Give me a ‘Mother Theresa’ size challenge. I’ll do it God. Just tell me what the calling is…
But don’t ask me to interrupt my football game to work on a school project for a child.
Don’t ask me to put my book down to change a light bulb.
Don’t ask me to serve in small, mundane, unseen, and uncelebrated acts of everyday life.
When Jesus lived as a servant, when he loved those and identified with those in humble conditions… it was no accident.
Just think about who raised him.
When Mary said these words, “I’m your servant,” it was not just theory. She was serving her whole life so she knew what she was talking about.
This was not a momentary feeling of devotion that came with some real powerful experience. This was the subtle expression of her will and character.
When Jesus is older and he begins this three-year earthly ministry, we see Mary in what I think is a semi-humorous situation.
This is recorded in John 2.
Jesus, all of the disciples, and his mother, Mary, are invited to a large wedding reception.
In those days wedding receptions were large multi-day occasions — huge parties.
And to the utter embarrassment of the host of the party and, of course, to the disappointment of all the guests, they ran out of wine.
Everyone knows it. They’re all wondering if the host is going to fix it. This is a downer for everybody.
The text in John 2:3 says:
When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
Do you know what’s going on here?
My mom used to do this to me. She’d be preparing a meal in the kitchen. I’d walk by, and she’d say, “We’re out of milk.”
I would think, “Why are you telling me?”
But this was just code for my mom. When she would make these kinds of announcements like ‘we’re out of milk,’ it was to say: Do something. Get on your bike and go get milk.
Guys, you know when you’re cooking on the grille in the backyard sometime, and your wife or your mother will say, “We’re out of ketchup.” Just code: Go get some ketchup.
My wife, Kathy, does this to me when she’s almost done cooking dinner. Do you know what she says? “Dinner’s almost ready.”
It’s code for: “Time to get the kids, make sure they’re hands are washed, and set the table.”
“Dinner’s almost ready.” It’s just code for: Everyone get ready for dinner.
I think this all started from Mary when she turned to Jesus and said, “They have no more wine.”
Anyway, Mary’s comment meant: Fix the problem.
And then if that isn’t enough, the text says she goes to some servants who are standing by some water jars and she says, “You do exactly what my son tells you to do. Got it?”
And, of course, Jesus knows if Mama’s not happy, nobody’s happy. And so he turns the water to wine and saves the whole party.
Jesus probably catches Mary’s eye later on at the party and goes: “You need milk and eggs in the morning? You want me to make anything else?”
I bring this up because sometimes we forget the human side of Jesus’ developmental years.
Sometimes I talk to people who say Jesus doesn’t understand what it’s like to be in a family. He doesn’t understand what it’s like to have parents, sibling, aunts and uncles, this kind of stuff — like he was never in a family.
Jesus was in a family, except for the last three years of his life when he was a traveling teacher.
We’re led to believe from Scripture that the whole rest of the time he was with his family. With parents. With brothers and sisters.
Don’t ever think he can’t understand the daily grind, the daily challenges, of trying to make do in a family situation.
Let’s roll the film ahead almost three years to a very serious scene.
Shortly after Jesus’ arrest and conviction, the writer of Scripture tells us that most of Jesus’ closest followers ran for their lives. They got scared that they might be associated with Jesus and get arrested and beaten themselves.
So Jesus’ closest friends desert him when he most needed their support.
Peter, in fact, not only deserted Jesus, but denied three times in the public square that he had ever seen Jesus before. Didn’t even know the man.
Then he curses. Uses a little trash talk and profanity to prove to these people that he is not a religious guy, that he’s not a follower of Jesus Christ and his language ought to prove that.
You see, physical beatings take their toll on a human body. Crucifixions are no fun at all.
But investing three years of your life into twelve guys who then run off like school kids when you need them the most, that’s like a knife in the back.
When one of your best friends denies that he ever even knew you and curses to prove it, that’s a bad day.
I want to take a quick tangent here.
Under what set of circumstances do you occasionally deny Christ? Under what set of circumstances do you shrink into the shadows and just kind of not let people know you’re a Christ-follower, that you’re a member of a church, that your faith is serious to you?
Are you ever in social settings where you’re tempted to downplay that you’re a follower of Christ or downplay that you’re a member of a church?
Business owners — many of you have company parties between now and Christmas. You have enormous influence over your employees. Do you take every opportunity, like at a Christmas party when you’re blessing your employees, to say:
“Hey, by the way, this Christmas season is not just a holiday. For me, it’s kind of personal, because Christ changed my life. And you give a little thirty-second witness. Then you follow that up and say: Usually you’d probably have to schedule an appointment to meet with me in my office, but you don’t have to schedule one if you want to talk about faith, because that’s really what my whole life is about.”
I’m just wondering how many of us in what settings — students in schools, in the neighborhood — I wonder how willing we are to step up, or how tempted we are to shrink into the shadows.
I think Mary played this right. While all the other disciples ran for their lives, here’s Mary willing to risk her own life.
The text in John 19:25 tells us about the crucifixion scene:
Near the cross of Jesus Christ stood Mary his mother.
Mary didn’t fade when the going got tough.
She didn’t shrink into the shadows for self-protection purposes.
She stood right in the shadow of the cross.
I imagine her encouraging Jesus, saying kind and loving words to him. She let him know in no uncertain terms that she loved him, she would never desert him, she would never deny him, she’d rather be killed than abandon him.
That had to mean a lot to Jesus to see her love and loyalty and courage.
I think it still means a lot to Jesus when he sees your love, your loyalty, your courage in public situations.
It means a lot to him when you tell people that you know him, that you do love him, that you’re proud to be a follower, that he’s changed your life.
Mary was rock-solid. She stood at the foot of the cross and watched the one that she had birthed and swaddled and nursed die a horrible death. She never looked away. This is an incredible woman.
She challenges me. I don’t know about you, but she challenges me.
After the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, the next and final time we hear of Mary in the Scriptures is in Acts 1:14.
Just before Jesus was ascending to the Father, he told his followers: “Go now to Jerusalem. Go to the upper room. And you patiently wait and fervently pray for the arrival of the Holy Spirit, because I’m telling you he’s coming.”
Well, we read that a lot of the followers of Jesus did go to the upper room and they prayed and waited patiently. Some of them probably lost their patience and determined the Holy Spirit wasn’t coming.
But Acts 1:14 says there were a group of people that stayed.
They waited patiently. They prayed fervently. And it lists who stayed. At the end of that list is Mary, the mother of Jesus. She was in that room.
So here’s this woman. She’s older now, of course. She still considers herself the Lord’s servant.
Jesus told her to stay and pray, so she’s like:
“I’m the Lord’s servant. I did this when I was a teenager and I’m doing it now at this age. I will do what God asks me to do, whatever is required of me.”
Soon after, as we know from Acts 2, the Holy Spirit did arrive with mind-blowing power, and the church in Jerusalem exploded into life.
Soon other churches were planted throughout the Middle East. And two thousand years later, here we sit in a church, singing and serving and learning and growing.
And this whole world-changing drama that affects every corner of the globe can be traced back to a teen-aged girl named Mary, who without batting an eyelash, said, I am the Lord’s servant; I’m going to say yes to God.
It’s quite a legacy this woman has left us.
So the question here is where do I need to pray Mary’s prayer right now in my life?
Mary’s prayer is, “I’m the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”
Where do you need to pray Mary’s prayer?
Maybe you’re facing a major decision — a career shift, a big move, a lifestyle change — and you’ve been holding in reserve the option of dropping out if the cost gets too high.
The question I’m here to ask you today is — “Will you pray, ‘God, I am your servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.’”
Maybe you’re in some situation or condition that’s not your first choice, just like Mary didn’t choose to be in this situation.
Maybe you’re in a job and you don’t love it, but you need to be there for right now to pay the bills, to care for your family.
Maybe you’re single and that’s not your first choice. You’d like to be married.
Maybe you’re suffering from some kind of an illness, and what you need to pray today is, “Lord, I wouldn’t choose this situation, but I will choose to embrace and serve you in the midst of it. I will not let it defeat my spirit. I will serve you right here.”
Maybe you need to take a look at your coworkers and neighbors and say, “God, I’m going to quit looking for some big glamorous calling…
“I’m going to stop asking for the angel with the Mother Theresa sized calling, and I’ll start serving you right here, right now.”
I sometimes wonder what would happen in and through the lives of all of us at Blue Oaks if every time the Spirit spoke to us and prompted us, asking us to do something, we would respond like that teenaged girl: “I’m a servant of the Lord. What do you want me to do, God? I will gladly do it. It’s an honor to do what you ask of me.”
Can you imagine between now and Christmas Eve if God prompted any one of us to encourage someone at work or in the neighborhood or in the family… If instead of brushing off God with reasons why that would not be possible, what if all of us just said to every prompting that came between now and Christmas Day — “Absolutely! I am the Lord’s servant and the greatest joy in my life is simply doing what you ask of me.”
Many of us have names of people God has been bringing to our minds to invite to a Christmas Eve service.
We’re in that decision-making time right now: Should I; shouldn’t I? What if they say no? Will this mess things up in our relationship if I invite them?
When God brings someone to mind to invite, what if we all said simply: Hey, I’m the Lord’s servant. I will gladly make this invitation, then I’ll leave it in God’s hands.
I can’t imagine what God might do.
I’m going to ask you to bow your heads for a moment and pray a prayer of surrender.
Some of you may not be ready to say this kind of prayer. You may just need to be still and contemplate why you’re not ready to say this prayer.
Sometimes to be just in silence before God is a very good thing, and you need to do that.
For those of you who are ready, I want to invite you to pray a prayer of surrender to God wherever you need to. Just pray it in your own words.
Maybe you want to express the kind of words that Mary expressed to the Lord. “I am your servant. Just tell me what you want me to do. Just tell me what you want me to surrender. Just tell me who you want me to serve. Just make it clear to me and I’ll do it… no matter how difficult or easy.”
Just take a moment to pray in your own words a prayer of surrender.
[Time of silent prayer]
Alright, now I want to read a prayer that’s now over two thousand years old that has blessed the Church and was an astounding prayerful description of the kingdom breaking into this earth.
It’s called the Magnificat, and it’s a prayer of Mary.
And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”
Here’s what I want us to take from this prayer of Mary’s: She stops to express her wonder and joy and delight at what God is doing in and through her.
Lest you think that kind of surrender and devotion and submission to God is going to lead to nothing but misery, you need to know that any time God speaks… and a person says, “Yes,” sooner or later, somewhere down the line, it leads to joy.
In this text Mary stops to do one other thing before she gets on with her life after the angel leaves.
This prayer is called the Magnificat because of what Mary says at the very beginning in verse 46. Take a look at this prayer. “My soul glorifies” or magnifies “the Lord.”
Now, this reveals something of what a remarkable person Mary is.
I want to say a word about this.
Some of you come from a tradition where Mary was venerated like to the point of being worshiped. Some of you come from traditions that went kind of to the opposite extreme where Mary was almost never even talked about.
This text makes it clear that Mary is a remarkable person.
It does say in verse 48, “from now on all generations will call me blessed…” except for Protestants.
It doesn’t actually say that, but that’s kind of the way it works.
She recites this magnificent prayer.
Turn to the person next to you. I want you to guess at something.
How many references to the Old Testament are in Mary’s prayer, these few verses?
How many references to the Old Testament do you think this one prayer contains?
Turn to the person next to you and take a guess.
A New Testament scholar by the name of Scott McKnight has done some research on this. This is what he writes:
“There are more than 30 indirect references to Old Testament verses in this one magnificent prayer of thanksgiving.”
Now, that’s not the only amazing thing about this. Do you know how old Mary was?
Consensus among New Testament scholars say that she was probably about 13. That’s the age at which girls tended to get married in that day.
You think of the mind of a 13-year-old girl being capable of a prayer like this prayer. That’s what happened.
Think of 13-year-old girls that you know.
Maybe you are 13 years old. Do you have any idea what God can do with one 13-year-old girl?
Do you have any idea?
He brought the kingdom into this world through a 13 year old girl.
And part of it was because Mary’s mind was immersed in the Old Testament Scriptures.
We don’t have nearly enough time to get into this, but again, you know Mary was more than just an incubator for the body of Jesus. She was his mom.
Somewhere along the line after he was 12, most likely his dad died, because by the time he was an adult we don’t read about Joseph anymore.
Many of the themes of Jesus’ teaching and ministry can be found right here in Mary’s prayer.
In verse 49 Mary says, “holy is his name.”
Do you remember the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray? “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name.”
Mary says, “He has filled the hungry with good things.” In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus says, “Give us this day our daily bread.”
She says, “He has brought down rulers from their thrones.”
When they told Jesus that Herod Antipas was trying to do away with him and Jesus said, “Go tell that fox I will keep healing the sick and preaching the gospel today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.”
It’s interesting to see Jesus from a human perspective, because Jesus was human as well as fully divine. We start to see where so much of what he taught came from.
Mary’s mind, this 13-year-old girl, is just so immersed in the Old Testament Scriptures.
And therefore with all of the potential problems, her mind and her heart were filled with hope, and she says, “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”
Here’s what’s so striking about this. This expression of joy, of great unstoppable joy occurs before she has seen any of the outcome of all of this.
She’s going to be a single unwed mother in a culture where the punishment for such a condition is stoning. That’s what she’s facing.
She doesn’t know what the response of Joseph her fiancée will be. She doesn’t know that yet.
She doesn’t know what kind of scandal this will cause in her village.
Herod the Great is going to respond with infanticide. He’s going to attempt to kill the young baby boys born around Bethlehem.
She and her little family will have to flee their home and their country and travel to Egypt.
She knows that she’s headed for some real serious challenges. She doesn’t yet know how anything is going to turn out, but she’s rejoicing.
And the secret to her joy is in this first line in verse 46.
And Mary said: “My soul glorifies (or magnifies) the Lord
The word she uses is “makarizo.” It means to make great, to extend, to magnify.
When you grow up the way Mary did, when you’re poor as she was, you learn real early in life you can magnify your problems or you can magnify the Lord – one or the other.
She has chosen to magnify the Lord, and she rejoices.
How many times does God say to you, “Just stop. Just stop worrying, and stop being so afraid, and stop obsessing over your little life, and stop worrying that the whole world is being carried around on your shoulders… and just rejoice and be glad.”
Let me ask you, when was the last time God invited you to just stop what you’re doing? To just stop worrying about whatever it is that you’re worried about and just rejoice in the Lord?
When was the last time God invited you to do that… and you said, “Yes”?
As we close today, I’d like us to rejoice in the Lord.
Alright, let’s pray as the band comes to lead us in a song that magnifies the Lord.
God, we love this time of year. There’s such a general sensitivity to things of God as the whole world turns its attention to Bethlehem and the one who was born there and who became the savior of the world.
God, move in our hearts.
Move in our world as we approach Christmas this year.
May those far from you come home.
May those close to you stay close and give you the worship you deserve.
God, give us boldness and sensitivity as we invite people to Christmas Eve where you can touch so many lives.
Give us names.
Give us opportunities.
Give us the courage to invite.