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Nothing is Impossible with God

December 19, 2020
Carrollton Presbyterian Church Christmas Tree

On this Fourth Sunday of Advent, we are a mere four days from Christmas Eve. While nothing has been “typical” or “traditional” this Advent season or will be for Christmas, the Spirit has been guiding us through this journey. 

I was reading recently an article or blog on Advent/Christmas 2020. It acknowledged that this season will be so much different from other seasons we have experienced. We need to acknowledge the fact that it is different. Instead of ignoring those feelings it is good to recognize and name them. It is also good to be open to the Spirit’s guidance as we explore new territory. The writer also said that the first Advent/Christmas was far from perfect. Mary and Joseph didn’t have prior experiences to compare their situation in life at the time Jesus was born. They had to improvise as they lived into the experience. A few years ago, I preached a series of sermons on the women in Jesus’ genealogy plus a few extra women from the Bible. As I walked with these women, the Spirit and the women taught me a lot. Now, on the Fourth Sunday of Advent the focus is on Mary and her calling from God. It may seem unusual to have two Gospel readings for this Sunday. However, as I explored the lectionary passages, these were the passages that shimmered for me. 

Mary was far from the placid and quiet woman that so many believe her to be. She was both brave and prophetic in her own right. When Gabriel came to Mary she was perplexed by his greeting. Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you. (Luke 1:28) Following Gabriel’s comment to not be afraid because she had found favor with God, the Angel dropped the news on Mary. As I try and put myself in Mary’s shoes, I can’t even imagine the shock she felt at the news. Wait, I’m what? I’m pregnant? How can this possibly be! Mary was able to stay with the conversation and asked how this could be. Well Mary, it’s not going to be a typical impregnation. Nothing is going to be typical about this whole process up to and including the birth! If you think that is wild, your relative Elizabeth who is much older than you is six months pregnant. After all, nothing is impossible with God. 

Words of comfort? Words calling for trust and faith? What was going through Mary’s heart? Again, I can’t begin to imagine what she was thinking or feeling. As I read the last verse in this passage, I wonder what her tone of voice or her body language was saying as she replied: Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word. (Luke1:38) The answer to that question I believe is found in her response following her visit to Elizabeth. This beautiful hymn of praise is a powerful statement of faith on the part of Mary. In the midst of it all, she is magnifying the Lord and rejoicing in her spirit. She knows that God will indeed be with her throughout her pregnancy and far beyond. Just as God brought down the powerful, God will lift up the lowly. 

During the ongoing pandemic, so many have struggled to see God’s presence in the midst of it all. As this Advent season concludes, we are called as Mary was to trust in God’s presence, the Spirit’s wisdom and comfort, and our Lord (the Good Shepherd) who continues to lead us through the darkness and into the light. This Advent, we have lit the candles of hope, peace, joy, and love. On Christmas Eve we will light the Christ Candle. May we, like Mary, find the hope, peace, joy, and love of God alive in our hearts and in our lives.

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