I used the title of the 2006 movie, The Nativity Story, as the title of my Advent/Christmas sermon series (it’s a good movie, by the way).
This series focused on the responses of some of the major characters in the biblical story of Jesus’ birth, namely, Zechariah, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and Simeon and Anna.
Zechariah’s reponse — “No way!”
Even though he had spent years praying for a child, it was just too much when the angel told Zechariah that he and his wife, Elizabeth, would have a son. Zechariah asked how it could possibly happen and even offered an excuse as to why it couldn’t happen, which seemed to anger the angel, Gabriel, a bit, who said Zechariah wouldn’t be able to speak (or hear, apparently) until God’s promise was fulfilled.
I talked about the danger of (spiritual) heart disease and suggested …
To prevent heart disease, change your lifestyle!
Mary’s response — “No problem!”
Mary’s response is simply incredible. When offered the opportunity and extreme challenge of giving birth to and raising the Son of God, she said (after asking a question and offering an excuse, much like Zechariah, for that matter), “I am the Lord’s servant; let it happen just as you have said.” The lesson from Mary’s response is …
When God calls, just say yes!
Joseph’s response — “Whoa!”
I don’t know how Joseph discovered that the young woman who was to be his wife was pregnant, but it certainly must have come as quite a shock and a disappointment! While Joseph could have had her executed for unfaithfulness, he chose rather to divorce her quietly. But after an angel encountered him in a dream, he obeyed God took Mary as his wife. It was no small task. From Joseph we learn …
God-followers value obedience over comfort!
The shepherds’ response — “Let’s go!
The shepherds heard about the birth of the Messiah from angels while watching their sheep one night. Immediately following the angels announcement, the shepherds said, “Let’s go to Bethlehem!” The shepherds exhibited passion to see and experience what God is doing. Just as it is impossible to please God without faith, I also believe …
It is impossible to please God without passion!
Simeon and Anna’s response — “Let me tell you about it!”
Both Simeon and Anna, who both met Jesus and his parents, Joseph and Mary, when they brought Jesus to the temple, spoke of the Messiah. They had experienced God’s work firsthand, and now they wanted to tell everybody!
God’s witnesses must be storytellers!
Those of us who have heard and experienced what God has done in sending his Son into the world have a responsibility to tell the story to others!