Unexpected News

 

Read: Luke 1:5–7. Right after we are introduced to Zechariah and Elizabeth, we are confronted with the problem and the pain that has plagued their lives for years – infertility. It was often considered a result of personal sin or judgement from God. Because of this, it brought an incredible amount of disgrace upon the women suffering from it. The fact they were blameless and infertile doesn’t seem to go together. This is a great example of bad things happening to good people for no apparent reason. My experience has proven that God is at work for my good (and others) even in the midst of unfair events.

The first bit of unexpected news: Your limitation does not limit the effectiveness of God’s plan. God regularly worked great things through those who felt limited. We need to learn to view our limit as God’s conduit through which He works out His plan.

 
Your limitation does not limit the effectiveness of God’s plan.

 

Read: Luke 1:8–13. Why did God wait to make this announcement and answer their prayers at this appointed time? Why not years earlier when they undoubtedly prayed earnestly for a child? God’s plan had multiple layers, multiple players. Next dose of unexpected news is: God’s plan for you isn’t just about you. God sent Jesus, his Son, at the appointed time. Zechariah and Elizabeth didn’t know what God was up to and were unaware of His timeline. They were a parallel story that was about to merge with the great story of God’s plan. Their hopes and dreams were bound up in God’s ultimate plan — which wasn’t just a child for them BUT a Savior for the whole world — whom their child, John, would prepare the way for.

God’s plan for you isn’t just about you.

 
They were to be a part of the plan God was preparing to unfold — and this plan wasn’t just about them or John. It was about Jesus! Could it be that your current unanswered prayer is on hold because God is working out a plan greater than you could ever imagine.

Read: Luke 1:14-17. The name “John” means Gift of God. He was certainly a gift of God to his parents. But this gift of God wasn’t meant to be kept to themselves. As this passage illustrates, John was to be used of God to make way for the Son of God.

The birth of John was placed in the Christmas story to remind us that God still wants us to introduce people to Jesus. The unexpected news of Christmas is that You are the gift of God used by God to introduce someone to Jesus this Christmas.
 
Christmas is one time of the year that people are surrounded by the message of Christ. How might God use you to prepare the way for someone to discover Christ as Savior this Christmas.
 
You are the gift of God used by God to introduce someone to Jesus this Christmas.

 

Read: Luke 1:18–25. In its most basic form, disgrace means a reversal or removal of grace; to fall out of favor. Elizabeth experienced disgrace personally and publicly because of her infertility. However, God extended grace to Elizabeth and that expression of God’s favor removed her disgrace. The final piece of unexpected news we can glean from this story of Christmas Greetings is that God’s favor in your life removes disgrace from your life. God’s favor is expressed through His gift of undeserved grace.

There was nothing that Zechariah or Elizabeth could do to bring this about. It was all God. God gave her grace in place of her disgrace. In what ways do you struggle with disgrace? This Christmas Greeting is a reminder that you don’t have to live in that disgrace any longer. In fact, disgrace cannot survive under the power of God’s amazing grace.
 
God’s favor in your life removes disgrace from your life.

 

Perhaps you feel as though you have fallen from God’s grace and are left wallowing in disgrace. Please listen to me: God’s grace is still available to you. God still favors you.

Which unexpected news did you most need to hear today? What do you need to do to respond to this news today?