We know the Christmas story – but did you know that it provides us with a great picture of how God communicated and still communicates with people today?
1. God speaks directly to people through angels and his Holy Spirit.
He sent an angel directly to Zachariah about John the Baptist’s birth and to Mary with the message that she would bear a son named Jesus. Luke 1:5-25 and Luke 1:26-38 NIV
Gabriel appeared to the priest Zachariah while he ministered in the temple and told him he and his wife would have a son. This was a one-on-one encounter where God spoke directly to a man through an angel. Zachariah was able to communicate with the angel because he expressed his doubts about the message and was punished for it by losing his ability to speak until the baby was born. That must have been a long 9 months!
The same angel went directly to Mary with the message of Jesus’s birth. Again there was interaction when Mary asked the angel how it was going to happen – not expressing doubt but needing clarification. The angel responded by telling her what she needed to know. Her last words to the angel were words of acceptance of the message.
In Luke 2:25-35 God spoke to Simeon, a devout man who lived in Jerusalem. Simeon had been praying for years about the coming of a deliverer. The Bible tells us the holy Spirit was on him and God told him through the Holy Spirit that he wouldn’t die until he had seen God’s son Simeon recognized Jesus right away through the inner prompting of the Holy Spirit and gave a special blessing to the child and his parents.
Has God ever spoken directly to you through his Holy Spirit or through an angel How did you know it was His voice?
2. In the Christmas story God speaks through dreams to Joseph. Matthew 1:18-24 and Matthew 2:13-15 Joseph had 2 separate dreams from God with important instructions – the first time telling him about Mary’s pregnancy and that he was not to divorce her, but to marry her. the second time, he was warned to take the baby and leave for Egypt so the baby would be protected.
Has God ever communicated with you through a dream? Did you believe it? how did you know the dream was from God?
3. God spoke through preaching. The angels proclaimed Christ’s birth to the shepherds on the hillside. Luke 2:8-20 Even though this is a direct revelation to the shepherds by angels, it it different. The shepherds did not interact with the angels – they weren’t allowed to ask questions – it was more like a lecture or a sermon.
Has God ever used a preacher or a sermon to minister to you or to speak to your heart?
4. God spoke through signs in the Christmas story. Remember the wise men? They came searching for baby Jesus because they saw his star in the east. They were astronomers who watched the sky for important events. We aren’t sure what they saw exactly – a conjunction of planets, a nova or a comet, but they sis see something – something that they interpreted as being a herald of the birth of a great king. Because of what they saw, they came and worshipped. Matthew 2:1-2
God can use events and circumstances to speak to us today too. There are no coincidences with God – just everyday miracles where God is incognito. looking back, can you identify times where God used events and circumstances to speak to your heart?
5. God used his Word to speak to people that first Christmas. For years there had been prophets speaking and teaching about the coming of the messiah. Isaiah was one of the most prominent. Isaiah 9:6-8All of the men in Israel would have known that prophecy.
When the wise men came to Herod asking where the King of the Jews would be born, Herod had his advisors check God’s word. Matthew 2:3-8 they found the references in the scrolls, the written words of the day, that a ruler would come out of Bethlehem.
Today we have the Bible which is God’s recorded word. He uses that Word to speak and
illuminate our hearts. We can read it a dozen times and each time we see
something new. We can be going through something and be reading God’s word and suddenly a verse will jump out at us that has a direct bearing on something we are going through.
Has this ever happened to you?
he uses these same ways that he did in the Christmas story. Through his Holy Spirit, through his word, through circumstances, through others. But, he also always confirms his message through one or more sources.
That’s how we can tell it’s his voice – The things he says always line up with the Word and are always confirmed by other sources.