We are wrapping up the All is Well series by unwrapping the good news about Christmas. Rewind to Luke 1. In this chapter Zechariah, the priest, received the good news that his prayers were heard and his wife would bear a son in her old age (1:13). The good news is that delay doesn’t mean denial. God hears your prayers and is more than capable of answering them long after you’ve given up.
But Zechariah had trouble believing the good news and was unable to speak until the birth of the child. The good news is only good to those who believe, but God’s word will come to pass whether you believe it or not. The antediluvians didn’t believe the flood was coming either. But God says, “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.” Psalm 89:34
Fast forward to verse 26. God sends Gabriel on a new mission. This time, Gabriel heads north from the temple at Jerusalem to “Nazareth,” the home of Joseph and Mary. In addition to being small, Nazareth had a bad reputation. Why would God choose such an insignificant and disreputable place for the birth of His Son? The good news is that Jesus doesn’t hold our bad environment against us. His birthplace proves that God is no respecter of persons, position, or places. All is well because it’s not where you’re from, but where you’re going that counts.
The angel appears to Mary and says, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” (Luke 1:28) The good news is that we are highly favored by God! What does it mean to be highly favored? This literally means “endowed with grace.” To be favored is to be accepted by God and endowed with grace. Examples are:
- Noah (Gen. 6:8) – Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. To be favored is to be a partner with God in the salvation of others.
- Joseph (Gen. 39:4) – Joseph found favor in the eyes of Potiphar and was entrusted with everything he owned. To be favored is to be entrusted with responsibility.
- Daniel (Dan. 9:23) – The angel Gabriel appears to Daniel to give him the interpretation of a vision. He tells Daniel “You are treasured by God.” To be favored is to be treasured by God.
Mary was all of these—entrusted with heaven itself! This privilege and trust wasn’t given to an older, more experienced woman, prophetess, or priestess, but to a young girl in her teens or early 20s! The good news is that there’s no age restriction on being used by God. God uses young people, too!
To find favor with God is to be known by name and to be taught God’s ways. Notice that Gabriel calls Mary by name. “Do not be afraid, Mary.” What did he say to Zechariah? “Do not be afraid, Zechariah” (1:13). What did he say to Daniel? “Daniel, you are highly esteemed!” (Dan 10:11).
Your name is known to God and His angels—that’s good news! It means you are not an insignificant speck of carbon dust on a planet of 7.8 billion. It means that just like Zechariah’s, your prayers are heard—He hears you when you call. You matter to Him. And the birth of Jesus itself is the ultimate evidence of God’s favor.
“How will this be, since I am a virgin?” Mary asked. “The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon 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 barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:35-38. The good news is that Nothing is impossible with God!” The good news is that God can accomplish in your life what you could never accomplish in your wildest dreams.
How can God be alive in you?” The answer is the same. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. The Son of God will come to you—and, like Elizabeth, even if you are barren spiritually—utterly unable to produce spiritual life on your own, “Nothing is impossible with God!” That’s the good news!
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” (Vs. 35) Mary said, Yes to Christmas. She could have said No. We have the same choice. She believed and was blessed. When we believe that what the Lord says to us will be accomplished, we are also blessed.
Later, when Jesus is born, the angels tell the good news to the shepherds. “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11) Hear what the angels said: Today a Savior has been born to you! You personally have a Savior. He’s not a Savior for the denomination; He’s not a savior for the congregation. He’s a Savior for you personally. That’s the good news!
God, in the form of a baby stepped down from eternity into time; from the glory of heaven into the ghetto of Galilee; from the worship of angels into the womb of a teenager; from mansions into a manger. This God who knows where light comes from and where darkness resides—this is the Creator who comes to the cradle and ultimately to the cross—for you! For unto YOU a Savior is born. That’s the good news. And because of it—all is well!
Pastor Randy Maxwell