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Dr. Jay P. Cook, Pastor

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Songs of Christmas – Mary’s Song
Luke 1:46-55

            Once upon a time and this is no fairy tale, many centuries ago a teenage girl gave the world a song.  And indirectly she has given the world thousands of songs.  This teenage girl has inspired poets, composers and artists for centuries.  But she left us with only one song. 

Luke 1:46-55 (NKJV)
46 And Mary said: "My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. 48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. 49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name. 50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty. 54 He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy, 55 As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever."











Mary knew that Jesus would be holy (v. 49). Mary knew that He was absolutely holy. "He is mighty," says Mary, "and holy is his name." In the Jewish culture a name was closely attached to the person that they became inseparable. Whatever a person's name was, that was the person. In other words, Mary is not saying that Jesus Christ as God is going to act in a holy manner. She's saying that HE IS HOLY. HE IS HOLY. HE IS HOLY!


The word holy means to be set apart.  That holiness is found in God setting Himself apart to come in the flesh it is called incarnation. God does that by sending His Son born of a virgin so that we might be united with Him.  Paul says that God exalts Him to the highest place and that every knee will bow before Him and every tongue will confess Jesus Christ as Lord.  


Jesus is set apart by God for us.  Without His holiness / set apartness we would never experience life. 




Basketball Star Chris Paul Forgives His Grandfather’s Killers

In April, 2011, Rick Reilly wrote a moving story about forgiveness from the life of Chris Paul, the all-star basketball player that now plays for the LA Clippers but when the article was written he played for New Orleans Hornets. Reilly writes:
On the moonless night of November 15, 2002, five boys ran across a park, jumped a 61-year-old man, bound his wrists … and beat him with pipes until his heart stopped. All for his wallet. That man was Nathaniel Jones, the grandfather of future NBA star Chris Paul.
[Nathaniel Jones], the man everybody called "PaPa Chili," was the first black man to open a service station in North Carolina, and both Chris and his brother worked at it. PaPa Chili was known to let people run tabs when times got tough. Plenty of times, he'd hand people money out of the cash register to get by. Paul called him "my best friend."
[After learning of his grandfather's death], Paul, [who at the time was] a high school senior, was so woebegone he was literally sick. Two days later, he scored 61 points for West Forsyth High School, one for every year of PaPa Chili's life. He purposely missed a free throw at the end, then collapsed into the arms of his father in tears.
Today, [the boys who murdered PaPa Chili] are men, sitting in prisons across the state of North Carolina, some serving 14-year terms, some life …. The five are about the same age as Paul, same race, same height, and from the same hometown … Paul, now 25, said: "Those guys were 14- and 15-years-old at the time, with a lot of life ahead of them. I wish I could talk to them and tell them, 'I forgive you. Honestly.' I hate to know that they're going to be in jail for a long time. I hate it."
Rick Reilly admits that he can't fathom Paul's willingness to forgive his grandfather's killers. If strangers had murdered his grandfather, Reilly says, "I'd want them in prison 100 years after they were in the dirt."
So why did Chris Paul decide to forgive these young men? There's a clue on the website. In 2008, fans wrote a series of questions to Chris Paul, mostly about basketball. However, one fan wrote and asked, "Hey Chris, are you a Christian?" Paul answered, "Yes. I grew up in the church and still go every Sunday if I don't have practice. It's always something that my parents instilled in me. I've grown to be pretty devout in my faith."
Not only devout but he has been touched by Christ’s mercy so he can share that mercy..

Mary knew that Jesus her un-born son was coming to restore relationships with God.  He was coming to save the world. 

Raphael's Master Painting Restored after Ten-Year Project

In November of 2008 one of the greatest masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance was restored to its original splendor and returned to its home at the world renowned gallery in Florence. The Madonna del Cardellino was painted by Raphael in 1505 for the wedding of his friend, a wealthy Florence merchant. It portrays Jesus Christ's mother, Mary, with two children who are playing with a bird. The children symbolized John the Baptist and his young cousin Jesus. The gold finch bird that feeds among thorns is interpreted as representing Christ's future suffering.
But something happened to this painting. It was painted in 1505. Forty years after it was created, there was an earthquake in the house in which this painting was kept, and the painting was shattered into 17 different pieces. The wood was all smashed up into bits. So another artist took long iron nails and tried to patch the pieces together. And then he tried to paint over it to conceal the breaks and make it look whole again. But over the years, there were so many layers of paint added and so much dust and grime over this painting that the original colors, the original art, was completely obscured.
The contemporary restoration project fixed the shattered areas and removed layers of paint and dirt to get the colors back. It was a team effort. It took fifty people ten years of working on this painting, and the result is stunning. The cracks are gone. Centuries of brown film and grime are gone. The dulling veneers and patches have been stripped away, and the finished product glows with all of the deep colors: the reds, and blues, and golds of the original work of art. Given how badly it was damaged, the restoration of Raphael's painting is arguably even more amazing than the painting itself. The original was splendid, but the miracle of restoration compounds the beauty. Knowing the drama of the whole story, you can only gawk at it in wonder.
The spiritual parallels are profound? They speak to a far greater masterpiece of restoration, the one that the Lord wants to do in our lives. Tragically, the beautiful design of who God created us to be has been marred by sin; and layers of grime and dirt have collected. We often think we can fix our relationship with God on our own.  We thought we could paint over the damage, but it didn't work, and the patches, the veneers that we applied just made things worse, and the cracks are showing. Maybe we’ve experienced earthquakes that have shattered us, but the good news of the gospel is that Jesus has the power to make all things new.  Mary knew who she was carrying in womb – it was the Master of Restoration. 
Mary Kassian, from the sermon "The Genesis of Gender


Please click here for attached slides to the sermon.