The Virgin Birth: Answering Questions About the Inconceivable (Luke 1:26-38)

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Stained glass depicting the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus. Image Credit: HuffPost

 

 

Sermon: The Virgin Birth: Answering Questions About the Inconceivable
Scripture: Luke 1:26-38

Note: The PDF file of the sermon can be found here: The Virgin Birth- Answering Questions About the Inconceivable

Christmas season is here, and believers are well aware of the usual discussions, sermons, and plays that occur during this time. For many of us, the Virgin Birth is an article of faith that we accept, even though we can’t prove how it occurs or every part of the process. And yes, faith is essential to salvation and our walk with Christ; I wouldn’t disagree. But what I want us to do today is not to unravel the mystery of the Virgin Birth; rather, I want us to understand the mindset of the atheist so that we can do what Scripture compels us to do: in the words of 1 Peter 3:15, we are to “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.”

So, with that in mind today, we are going to take a look at the story of the Virgin Birth,what is also called The Immaculate Conception, and see if we can better understand those who do not believe and sharpen our own minds to answer the skeptics of our time. We’ll walk through the account while examining its credibility.

In Luke 1:26, it says “Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David.” The “sixth month” is a reference to Elizabeth’s pregnancy since Elizabeth, the angel Gabriel tells us, is in her sixth month in pregnancy carrying John the Baptist, who would be Jesus’s first cousin at his birth. According to Luke 1:36, Elizabeth was still pregnant with John the Baptist, so this time marker is designed to connect John and Jesus’ births — John being six months older than Jesus.

There are few details, but we know that Gabriel appears in Galilee, the city of Nazareth, to a virgin, a woman who was engaged to Joseph (of the lineage of David) but had never been with a man. What we know from the text here is that the virgin was engaged to be married, not yet officially but in that interim stage so many today find themselves in when they’re engaged. We are told that “the virgin’s name was Mary,” meaning that Mary was the woman to which the angel Gabriel appears. “Mary” and “Joseph” aren’t unique names in their day. They aren’t unique names today, either, but this couple was Jewish and were likely of poor working status.

In verse 28, the angel Gabriel greets Mary: “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” In verse 29, Mary wonders whether the greeting is good or bad (as I imagine many of us would). She doesn’t really know what to expect and has likely never been approached by an angel before. Her expression and response would be the same for us if we were ever greeted by an angel. In verse 30, Gabriel reiterates what he said to Mary originally: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God,” Gabriel said to her. And in verses 31-33, Gabriel delivers to Mary the news:

“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:31-33).

It should be pointed out that Mary is given the news that so many women have delighted in throughout the centuries: that is, that she’d give birth to a child. I think back on how joyous the news came when my sister told me that she was pregnant with my niece, now 4-year-old Erin and then pregnant with my now near-2-year-old nephew, Trip. I was so ecstatic to be an aunty, so ecstatic to think that my sister would give birth to the next
generation of my mother’s line. Can you imagine where you were when you were told by a cousin, sister, friend, that they would give birth? Can you remember the look on their faces when they found out the sex of the child by way of an ultrasound — or how surprised they were after giving birth because they didn’t want to know the sex of the child until then?

One thing that makes this story believable concerns not only the average names of the persons involved, and their low estate as poor people, but also the human experience. All of us have been affected by news of a pregnancy, whether we’ve been pregnant or knew someone who announced to us their pregnancy. We’ve all shared in the joy of celebrating a new life long before it is born. We know how exciting it is to celebrate the life of a coming child. That is an innate part of the human experience, and the fact that God allows the human pregnancy to be a part of the story shows just how credible the account of Mary’s Virgin Birth really is. When discussing the Virgin Birth with atheists and skeptics, point them to the human experience of a pregnancy; ask them whether or not they’ve witnessed the birth of a child, or heard the news that a female relative or friend of theirs was expecting a child.

The pregnancy, news of a birth, is one of those factors about the Virgin Birth that is believable — whether someone is an atheist, Christian, or religious person of some other faith. Gabriel tells her that she will be pregnant and give birth, that she will have a Son, and that she is to name Him Jesus. The angel goes on to tell more about Jesus: first, the angel says that Jesus “will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest.” In other words, Mary would give birth to Jesus but He would be God’s Son, too. He would be King, ruling in succession over “the throne of His father David,” the text says. Notice that Jesus is called not only God’s Son and Mary’s Son, but He is also called the Son of David (that David is Jesus’ father). The idea that King Jesus would be the son of King David is something that the Pharisees couldn’t wrap their minds around. The Pharisees had a habit of always questioning Jesus and asking Him questions. One day, He finally proposed a question pertaining to His natures that they couldn’t answer. We see this in Matthew 22:41-46, Mark 12:35-37, and Luke 20:41-44:

“While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, ‘What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?’ They said to Him, ‘The Son of David.’ He said to them, ‘How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool’?” If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?” And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore.” (Matthew 22:41-46)

Jesus quotes from Psalm 110:1, a Psalm written by David, Jesus says, and yet, David is talking about “the Lord,” God the Father, saying to “My Lord,” his Lord, Jesus, to sit at His right hand. If David calls his “son” Lord, then how can the Lord be both God, deity, and yet, the son, the descendant, of David? The answer is found in his twofold nature: as Son of Man, He would be the descendant, the “son,” of David, from the lineage of David. And yet, from the divine perspective, He would be divine as well, Lord, deity, the One worthy of all worship and praise. David ruled a throne as king of Israel, did he not? So David, having been an ancestor of Jesus, would be his “father.” The use of “father” here is not in the strictest sense we have of it today, where it refers to someone who helped procreate a male child.

The Jews used “father” and “son” to refer to ancestors, earlier relatives, blood family members. So, in this regard, David, having been an ancestor of Joseph and Jesus, would be seen as Jesus’ “father.” He would be given the throne of His father David.

But what does it mean that Jesus would be “given the throne of His father David,” as Gabriel announces in Luke 1:32? It means that He, too, would be king. The Jews took this to mean that Jesus would be the next king on the Israelite throne, that He would become the next political ruler, but that isn’t the case. Jesus’s kingdom would be of something entirely different. Isaiah prophesied about the kingdom of Jesus, what His kingdom would be in Isaiah 9:

“Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed,
As when at first He lightly esteemed
The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
And afterward more heavily oppressed her,
By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,
In Galilee of the Gentiles.
2 The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined.
3 You have multiplied the nation
And increased its joy;[a]
They rejoice before You
According to the joy of harvest,
As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
4 For You have broken the yoke of his burden
And the staff of his shoulder,
The rod of his oppressor,
As in the day of Midian.
5 For every warrior’s sandal from the noisy battle,
And garments rolled in blood,
Will be used for burning and fuel of fire.
6 For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:1-7)

The oppressed would be freed because the Child, that is, Jesus, would bring peace to the earth and would throw off the oppression of the Jews — but He’d do so in a way differently than they thought. Jesus wasn’t coming to institute political peace, but spiritual peace, peace between man and God. As Isaiah 9:6 says, “the government will be upon His shoulder.” He would have a reign, but it wouldn’t be political. “His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace,” names for God Himself.

The Lord Jesus would have a government that would bring peace to this world, a government that would do what none other, including the current political administration, has been able to do: institute worldwide peace and harmony, and put an end to wars, rumors of wars, division, sexism, ageism, racism, police brutality, and other such injustices. And notice that Isaiah 9:7 says that “Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.” Barack Obama’s government was temporary — eight years. Thankfully, Trump’s government will come to an end after 7 more years (there is a
God). And yet, the most wonderful thing about it all is that Jesus’ government will never end. Thank God that there’ll be no end to peace, no end to harmony, no end to joy, no end to bliss, no end to love, no end to truth, no end to justice.

As Jesus Himself said to Pilate when He was arrested and awaited trial in John 18:36, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world.

Gabriel tells Mary in verse 33 that “He will reign over the house of Jacob forever,” and this statement is a reference to the nation of Israel. Remember, Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, and his twelve sons become the heads of the 12 tribes of Israel. So when Isaiah says that the Lord Jesus will reign over the house of Jacob, He’s saying that He will be Israel’s God, and His kingdom will be eternal.

The house of Jacob is the one stemming from the lineage of Abraham, to whom God told in Genesis 12:1-3, “and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” And of His kingdom, there will be no end. The angel Gabriel says that His kingdom will be eternal. We just read in Isaiah 9:7 that there will be no end to His coming kingdom, but there are other verses as well in Scripture that tell us the same.

7 And of the angels He says:
“Who makes His angels spirits
And His ministers a flame of fire.
8 But to the Son He says:
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.” (Hebrews 1:7-9)

In Paul’s mind, Hebrews 1:8-9 is a passage taken from Psalm 45 (verses 6-7, to be exact), a
passage that describes the Father talking to the Son, Jesus Christ. And, as we read in Hebrews 1:8 (Psalm 45:6), the Lord Jesus’s throne is “forever and ever.” In 1 Timothy 1:17, Paul gives his benediction by saying, “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” The King, King
Jesus, is eternal. In 1 Peter 5:11, Peter said in his benediction, “To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 11:15 says, “Then the seventh angel sounded:

And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” His reign is eternal, His reign is never-ending. His reign doesn’t have a beginning point and an ending point; He has always reigned, but His reign will no longer be challenged in the world to come. In verse 34, Mary asks the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” The word here means “to know,” but we realize that Mary is asking about sexual intimacy because Gabriel responds, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God” (v.35). We know from this that Jesus will be conceived by the Holy Spirit, and we know that Mary is asking about the biological process.

And some today, skeptics and atheists, have the same question. The word “overshadow” in the Greek simply means “to pass by and leave one’s shadow,” or it’s what happens in daylight when someone passes by something. The same Greek word used here for “overshadow” is the same Greek word used in referring to Peter passing by people who were sick; those who were in his shadow when he passed by were healed, we’re told in Acts. So, there isn’t much we’re told except that the Holy Spirit would conceive Jesus within Mary’s womb. Gabriel says that Jesus is the Son of David, and He would be Mary’s son, but He would also be the Son of God as well. The term “Son of God” implies that Jesus is divine.

How did this happen? How did Jesus come about? How was He conceived in Mary’s womb? We know that Mary didn’t have sexual intercourse, so how did it come about? Atheists and skeptics claim that this is one of the most unbelievable, and most inconceivable things about Christianity. “How can anyone claim that a human born on earth was also divine, when He wasn’t even conceived by natural means?” Atheists and skeptics are naturalists who believe there’s a naturalistic explanation to everything. They’d say that if Jesus wasn’t conceived by natural means, then this “Jesus” we praise and worship is a figment of the imaginary, pure fiction. Some would say that Jesus was conceived by human means and that claims that He is divine are nothing more than a futile attempt to elevate an ordinary man to something He wasn’t to promote Christianity and influence people to join the ranks of the Christian religion.

How are Christians to answer this? Well, the story is not entirely inconceivable in the atheist mindset. After all, Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit but Mary had to carry Jesus for 9 months before giving birth to Him. As Luke 2:6 says “So it was, that while they were there,” while Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem, registering for the census, “the days were completed for her to be delivered.” The phrase “the days were completed” tell us that Mary had to carry Jesus for a normal pregnancy term; she didn’t get to miraculously give birth to Jesus in a few days, a few weeks, or three months, for example. The normal pregnancy term alone is enough to convince skeptics and atheists that the Virgin Birth is believable.

And yet, what skeptics and atheists really question is not that Mary carried Jesus for nine
months, but rather, first, how Jesus was conceived. How was He conceived? We don’t know, but we know that the normal procreative means wasn’t employed here. And yet, we know today that some children are conceived apart from normal human means. Have you ever heard of in-vitro fertilization (IVF)? It’s a process whereby a woman whose body is unable to conceive a child is impregnated with egg and sperm combined. The egg and sperm are combined outside of the womb, then implanted in the uterus. The woman carries the child, then gives birth after 9 months. The process of IVF doesn’t mandate conception by natural, biological processes. I’m not using IVF here to presume that’s how the birth of Jesus Christ happened (it didn’t), but to say that we already believe that humans can be conceived outside of the natural bodily processes; if we can believe in IVF, it’s not far-fetched to believe that Jesus was conceived by divine means.

But it’s in the discussion of the divine that skeptics and atheists would draw the line. IVF they understand: it still mandates male and female biological contributions, even if they meet outside the body. It’s divine conception that atheists and skeptics don’t understand or question. Divinity is not like the natural; it’s not something that they can measure under a microscope, not something they can see, touch, hold, watch, and measure. They can’t see how Jesus was conceived, so they deem it, to use a pun, inconceivable. And yet, that’s simply not true.

Take a look at Isaac, for example: Abraham and Sarah, his parents, were 100 years old (Abraham) and 90 (Sarah) when Isaac was born. And Sarah carried Isaac for nine months in her womb. How possible is it that a woman at 90 could have a child? Now atheists and skeptics would likely find this impossible and unbelievable — but if we believe Scripture, it came true. It happened. If the same God that brought Jesus into the world is the same God that let Abraham and Sarah conceive a child naturally, in a day where there was no IVF, then it’s conceivable that the Lord could bring about the birth of Jesus in the womb of a virgin.

When it comes to the divine, skeptics and atheists continue to argue against it because it isn’t “present in the natural,” they say. That is, if science cannot measure it, then it doesn’t exist. And yet, there are medical miracles that happen around us every day: someone who has stage 4 cancer suddenly gets healed in the span of a few weeks outside of the doctor’s office; someone who has an accident where his or her car is totaled but the individual makes it out without a scratch; and so on. These are medical mysteries, miracles in the lives of those affected by disease, and atheists and skeptics cannot explain these.

What about the human intellect? Is there anything on earth that explains the intellect and its processes? How do humans create original works of artistic expression? How is it that we write songs that’ve never been written, or books that have never been conceived before? How do we bring new things into a world where we’re told that there’s nothing new under the sun? The intellect is not natural; it’s not something that can be tested under the microscope. And yet, atheists and skeptics conduct science experiments every day, aiming for the natural — which fights against the invisible existence of the intellect (we can’t see it, but we know it’s there). This is the same intellect that allows them to conduct their experiments and come to their highly technical conclusions. The invisible, non-physical intellect is what has allowed scientists to conduct their naturalistic accomplishments.

Let’s take something closer to home for scientists: explain why it is that the earth has a
gravitational force but space does not? Scientists can tell you that the earth has a gravitational force and show you how it works, and they can tell you that space lacks gravity, but they cannot tell you why gravity exists on earth but is absent in space. It may not sound good to atheists and skeptics, but there are many things in the world that science cannot explain. Love is another one of these; science can explain procreation and the need to continue one’s survival in the human race, to increase one’s progeny, but science can’t explain the love of two people that leads to the desire to procreate and have children.

Science can show us how to build treehouses, for example, but science can’t
tell us two things: 1) why we’d want to build a treehouse and 2) why we’re able to take
something within the natural world and manipulate and mold it to our own ends.
Science will never get you to purpose. It may explain how something works and affirm whether something works or not, but it can’t tell you why, or state the purpose behind it. Science can only speak on the natural — and “purpose” or “reason” isn’t something they can test in a tube or under a microscope.

If you believe that purpose matters in life, that it’s important to know why Earth, of all the planets, is the best for the sustenance of human life, why it is that the intellect exists, and why science shows us a finely-tuned universe, then you have to look outside science to the supernatural and metaphysical. Where science ends, where science runs to the end of its course, the supernatural, the Divine, outruns it. Why is it that Earth is the only planet that sustains life? Those who are part of the SETI project, “SETI” being an acronym for “the search for extraterrestrial life,” can’t tell you.

The SETI project exists to spend millions of dollars conducting research in space in order to find extra terrestrials, or “real life ETs,” from the movie ET, that can provide clues on how we came about. The theory or goal behind SETI is to find out whether or not humans can attribute their existence to something other than a Divine being. It hasn’t turned up much yet, and I highly doubt another 5-10 years will change that. Even if they find extraterrestrial life, it won’t explain how the ET turned up on earth. The origin of the ET must be explained because it isn’t Deity. The ET didn’t put the sun, moon, stars, clouds, and the color blue in the sky. The ET didn’t create grass, or cause the day to come about. Atheists have played this game of asking believers, “God made everything, but who made God?”; if this question is valid, then they’ll find an extraterrestrial being and we’ll ask them the question, “Who made ET? Who made the extraterrestrial being?”

If atheists and skeptics can live with an extraterrestrial being as the origin of life, then Christians are well within their intellectual reason to believe that a Male Child, born of a Virgin, is God and the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. After all, our God is visible — Jesus was born of a virgin woman, and His birth is documented in history. Where’s historical evidence of their extraterrestrial beings, outside of a few UFO sightings that surprisingly, are never documented or discussed in science textbooks?

If they’re so bent on the physical and evidence that can be examined under the microscope, then we Christians don’t have to believe that ETs exist until they bring one into the laboratory and we can examine it under the microscope. And we don’t have to believe that the earth created itself unless they can show us that under a microscope, either.

So, the Virgin Birth isn’t all that far-fetched to believe. There’s the believable story of two people engaged to be married, with Mary asking Gabriel how the conception of Jesus would come about. This is believable; with a typical human, biological understanding about procreation, you and I would’ve asked the same question. We too, would want to know how it would happen. Gabriel told Mary that the Holy Spirit would overshadow Mary and the Child within her would be the Holy One of God. And yet, after Gabriel tells Mary what would happen, Mary accepts the angel’s response.

First, though, the angel Gabriel tells her about her cousin’s pregnancy so that she’d understand that the Lord could do what is often impossible to the human mind: “Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible” (Luke 1:36-37). Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age, by biological means, despite her barrenness, and Gabriel tells Mary this to say that with God, nothing is impossible. Gabriel tells Mary in so many words, “Mary, if Elizabeth who is old and way past childbearing age can conceive a son, then you in your prime can conceive a son without sexual relations with a human man.” In the eyes of the angel Gabriel (and God, for whom Gabriel spoke here), we see that there was more of an impossibility for Elizabeth and Zacharias to conceive a child than it was for Mary to have a child
without sexual relations. And yet, Elizabeth had conceived, a woman who was barren and hadn’t had any children. So Mary didn’t need to worry about how her conception of Jesus would take place. If the Lord had delivered Elizabeth and done the impossible in the life of her cousin, then surely, the Lord could do the impossible in the life of Mary. See, this too, is logical thinking.

The atheist and skeptic may not agree with the logic of God doing the impossible, but “if” He exists and “if” He does the impossible (and He does, every day), then He could bring about a child sans sexual relations of two people.

In verse 38, Mary accepts the angel’s statement and announcement. She says, “Behold the
maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” She accepts Gabriel’s
statement and God’s plan, and she doesn’t resist it or fight it. She was a believer in the Lord who wanted to do the Lord’s will, and she doesn’t contest anything the Lord speaks through His angel Gabriel. That is the response of a man or woman of faith: he or she aims to understand what God is doing, then accepts what the Lord says without skepticism or doubting. He or she comes to God by believing that He exists according to Hebrews 11:6, so those who love the Lord must believe in the Lord and accept His word as fact.

From today’s text of Luke 1, we see that Mary, a virgin, is the one the Lord favors. What we must understand about this is that Mary hadn’t been sexually active, wasn’t promiscuous, was clean, pure, untainted by sexual sin — and this is the one the Lord chose to carry His Son, Jesus. This speaks volumes about the kind of godly example Mary was. I know, I know, we live in an age where everything is permissible now, where sex is in every advertisement, on every magazine page, every daytime drama and reality TV show, but the Lord still looks with favor on those who are sexually pure.

Yes, this sounds like an old-fashioned moral viewpoint here, and it is. It’s designed to teach us how to be like Christ, and to help us learn what to tell our children in 2017 about moral purity and how to fight this sex-crazed world in which we live. We need to tell our women to “be Mary” in their approach to sexual purity, that our women and our daughters, sisters, and nieces must preserve themselves for marriage. Mary was chosen because of her sexual purity and devotion to God. That is what defined her, not how much cleavage she could show on a commercial or a magazine.

Lastly, let’s remember that Jesus’ birth was prophesied by the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Matthew tells us that the Virgin Birth is the fulfillment of prophecy in Matthew 1:22 — “So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’” What we learn of the Virgin Birth is that it’s not too hard for the Divine Lord to bring about, that His Son would be Jesus, one of two natures, both human and divine, and that He would bring about the birth of Jesus by way of supernatural means: Mary, a virgin, someone who had never had sex with a man, would conceive a child. The Lord did a miracle, something that had never been heard of before, in order to display His power in the birth of His Son.

The Virgin Birth is a great discussion to have with atheists and skeptics, but let us approach the Immaculate Conception with more than just a discussion purpose: let us believe it to be true, accept it as an Article of Faith, and let it remind us that our God is a God who keeps His promises, that He is a God who came to save us, that the Word really became flesh, as John 1 says, and dwelt among us, in order to save us.

And let the Virgin Birth put Mary in her proper place: contrary to certain theological beliefs in the Christian world, Mary was not a perfect person, nor was she a perpetual virgin, but she was a godly person; not a sinless person, but a blameless person who knew her Lord and, like us all, had to ask God for forgiveness. And yes, after giving birth to Jesus, she and Joseph had boys and girls (Jesus had biological half-brothers and half-sisters). Mary isn’t the one we are to venerate. She is not the one we are to revere; rather, she is a vessel God used to bring forth the Savior of the world. We are thankful for her obedience to God’s Word and her example. We are thankful that the Lord looked upon Mary and Joseph with favor as the earthly parents selected to raise His Son, Jesus. But it is her Male Child, the Son of God, the son of David, that we are to adore, revere, and venerate.

 

Opening Selection: “Thank You Lord” (Don Moen)

“Go Tell It On The Mountain” (Mississippi Mass Choir)

Intermediate Selection: “Mary Did You Know?” (singer: Kathy Mattea)

Inspirational Selection: “O Holy Night” (Singer: Josh Groban)

Closing Selection: “Joy To The World” (singer: Whitney Houston)