Blessings of Obedience

 

At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus,

decreed that a census should be taken throughout the                          Roman Empire.

(This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.)

All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census.

And because Joseph was a descendant of King David,

he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home.

He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee.

He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged,

who was now expecting a child.

Luke 2:1-5

 

Blessings of God’s Fulfillment

 

All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:

 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel,
which means ‘God is with us.’”

When Joseph woke up, 

he did as the angel of the Lord commanded 

and took Mary as his wife. 

But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. 

And Joseph named him Jesus.

Matthew 1:22-25

Blessings of the Inexplicable

 

This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. 

His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. 

But before the marriage took place, 

while she was still a virgin, 

she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Joseph, to whom she was engaged, 

was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, 

so he decided to break the engagement quietly.

As he considered this, 

an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. 

“Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, 

“do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. 

For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 

And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus,

for he will save his people from their sins.”  

Matthew 1:18-21

 

Blessings of God’s Promise

 

Mary responded,

“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!

For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call me blessed.

For the Mighty One is holy,
and he has done great things for me.

He shows mercy from generation to generation
to all who fear him.

His mighty arm has done tremendous things!

He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.

He has brought down princes from their thrones
and exalted the humble.

He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away with empty hands.

He has helped his servant Israel
and remembered to be merciful.

For he made this promise to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his children forever.”

Luke 1:46-55

Blessings Of Believing The Lord Will Do What He Said

 

A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, 

to the town where Zechariah lived. 

She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth.  

At the sound of Mary’s greeting, 

Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, 

and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, 

“God has blessed you above all women, 

and your child is blessed. 

Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? 

When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. 

You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.” 

Luke 1:39-45

Blessings of Finding Favor With God

 

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, 

God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee,  

to a virgin named Mary. 

She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph,

a descendant of King David.  

Gabriel appeared to her and said, 

“Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”

Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 

“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, 

“for you have found favor with God! 

You will conceive and give birth to a son, 

and you will name him Jesus.  

He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. 

The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David.  

And he will reign over Israel forever; 

his Kingdom will never end!” 

Luke 1:26-33

Blessings of Wonder

 

When Herod was king of Judea, 

there was a Jewish priest named Zechariah. 

He was a member of the priestly order of Abijah, 

and his wife, Elizabeth, was also from the priestly line of Aaron.  

Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, 

careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations.  

They had no children because Elizabeth was unable to conceive, 

and they were both very old.

One day Zechariah was serving God in the Temple, 

for his order was on duty that week.  

As was the custom of the priests, 

he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense.  

While the incense was being burned, a great crowd stood outside, praying.

While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, 

an angel of the Lord appeared to him, 

standing to the right of the incense altar.  

Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him.  

But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! 

God has heard your prayer. 

Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John.

Luke 1:5-13