It is advent my favorite season of the church year. I am sad that I can’t attend church and see the advent colors on the alter and the wreath lit week after week. I miss it so. I love this hymn that can be used adding a verse each week.
Advent is for anticipation and expectation. It is a time for looking toward good things. What could be better than the birth of a baby. Even after the upheaval of moving, downsizing and changing our lives completely I still want to immerse myself in the coming joy.
God has plans for us. these plans include us having a better understanding of how we should live. Telling us has not worked so God decides to SHOW us. He leaves heaven to become a man…a man who lives the life that we need to live. He did this for us. Now we need to follow that man in everything that we do.
Someone once said to my husband that Jesus was a conservative. My husband’s response was “he was so conservative that he got himself killed.” If we pay attention to the ministry of Christ he was radical. He went against the mores of his day in so many ways. He ate with tax collectors, acknowledged women, healed lepers and preached love for all humankind. If we could live as he did it would be a revolution. Prepare by pondering on this.
Here, in the middle of Advent, I had the most moving experience. Today in church we went forward to take communion. there was a tiny little girl next to me (about two). She saw everyone near her holding out their hands to receive the bread and held out hers too. It was so touching to look down next to me and see those small hands held out for the bread of communion. The Priest came by and put bread in her hands. She smiled but was very serious about what she was doing. She waited with us and watched her mother dip her bread into the wine and then did the same.
I wish I could have taken a picture but I have that image in my mind and in my heart. And a little child shall lead us. Today I felt the power of that child’s actions and we have another child on the way…The Christ child.
5 Why should I fear in times of trouble, when the iniquity of my persecutors surrounds me, 6 those who trust in their wealth and boast of the abundance of their riches? 7 Truly, no ransom avails for one’s life,[a] there is no price one can give to God for it. 8 For the ransom of life is costly, and can never suffice, 9 that one should live on forever and never see the grave.[b]
Christmas is coming. In this Psalm we see that nothing we can do can ransom out lives. Nothing WE can do. But coming to us on Christmas is someone who can. Someone sent by God. An infant who was born to save us. Praise God!
18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him.19 I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name.
It is easy to apply the words spoken about “a prophet” to be applied to the words spoken by Jesus. The whole ministry of Jesus is spent telling us and showing us how God wants us to be. How well do we listen? How well do we apply the lessons? It is hard not to see ourselves in the place of the man told to give up everything he had. Could we do it?
How closely are we following the message of Jesus?
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day: Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known his deeds among the nations; proclaim that his name is exalted.
During this advent season we have to keep the message out there. This season is about the birth of Christ. It is a time of preparation. Not just buying gifts, decorating, and cooking. It is about preparing ourselves. Take time to experience the aticipation, the expectation. Christ is coming!
Today I want us to think about Mary’s answer to the angel. What if an angel appeared before you and asked you to do something that would shake you to the core and change your life forever? Would you hesitate? Would you wonder if the whole thing was not real? You would have to endure the disdain and censure of everyone you knew. You could end up being an outcast or stoned to death.
I am not sure what my answer would be. What would you do?
Luke 1:34-38, 46-55
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[b] the Son of God.36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month.37 For no word from God will ever fail.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
46 And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. 50 His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. 51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. 52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful 55 to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”