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Sermon For The Fourth Sunday of Advent - Year B
Luke 1:47-55 and Luke 1:26-38
"Mary, Mother of God"


READING:  Luke 1:47-55 and Luke 1:26-38
SERMON :  "Mary, Mother of God"

by Rev. Richard J. Fairchild
b-ad04se 348000


Christmas is a wonderful time of year
         many good things happen - family gatherings
          - baking 
          - candy treats
          - rich food (am I dwelling on the tummy?)
          - also music that lifts our hearts (carols, anthems)
          - people dress up as well as they can
          - visiting, sleigh rides, many other things,
         it is a great time - a wonderful time, a time of promise,
         
But there is more than this to Christmas

There is a serious side 
         - the side that makes it all meaningful
         - the side that was promised thousands of years ago...
         to Adam and Eve
          to David the King,
          and to the prophets

The promise of God about this season 
came long before Jesus was born
         it was a promise that evil would be defeated
         a promise of a lasting peace,
                   of lasting hope
                   of lasting joy
                  of lasting love
         it was a promise that a king would be born... an everlasting
         king, who would rule his people with justice and truth, a king
         like David, but greater yet.  A king whose reign would never
         end, a king who would look after the poor and give justice to
         the widow and orphan

And all of this goodness, all of this hope, rested one day, upon a
young girl, barely a woman, who was engaged to a simple carpenter
in the Land of Israel.

Imagine her with me...  imagine yourself in her place...

Mary visited by an angel
         - perhaps in a dream in a hot summer night...
         - perhaps while carrying water from the village well...
          
And she is told by this angel that she is loved by God,
         that she is favoured by Him,
         and when she reacts with Fear
             and who could not fear such a divine messenger,
         she is told to not be afraid,
         but to listen,
         and to understand that God was going to do something special to
her, and through her, that God was going to cause her to become
pregnant and to give birth to a son - a son who would become the
promised king, the Messiah.

Mary's response was very predictable,
it was like ours
HOW CAN THIS BE - SHE SAID - SINCE I AM A VIRGIN

How indeed can God work through us?
         - We are nothing
          - We are inadequate
             - God is spirit, but we are flesh
                 - We are not important people,
                    - God would not use us,
                        - God could not use us,
except perhaps in very small things,
like loving our neighbours,
or helping the poor and the lonely during a difficult time,
AND THESE OF COURSE ARE REALLY OUR ACTIONS
God does not actually direct them, or cause them, does he?

HOW CAN THIS BE - HOW CAN I GIVE BIRTH TO THE MESSIAH,
I AM A VIRGIN?

But the angel persisted saying that the power of God would come
over her - that she would conceive a son and that she should call
him Jesus - which means "The Lord Saves"

And Mary replied - I AM THE LORD'S SERVANT, MAY IT BE TO ME AS YOU
HAVE SAID."

Mary agreed to what God asked
Mary obeyed the Lord

And a wonderful thing happened - she became pregnant

BUT CONSIDER MORE Once Mary obeyed the Lord,
         once she accepted his word,
          while there were imaginable difficulties
             after all  - she was a single woman - who was pregnant
                        - she had a fiance who was troubled, and did
                        not know what to do for the longest while
          while there were difficulties,
         once she accepted God's message, 
         once she really believed it, 
incredible Joy came 

In the words of day's canticle which we just said, 
Mary's soul magnified the Lord.
         - She realized in way she could not before that God was in fact
         real 
         - that his promises to Israel, to Abraham and his children
         would come true
         - that the world was save, for the saviour was coming.

Mary's soul magnified the Lord - it exalted the Lord - 
         and God filled her 
         and gave her the joy and the peace and the hope and the love
          that our toys, our gifts, our carols, and our gatherings can
          only hint at.

Our Souls too - we when we accept God's word and when we obey his
commands, will realize great joy,
         God will expand in us,
         and use us - 
          and give us the joy, peace, hope and love we need for
          ourselves and that which we need to be a light to the world
          around us.

The hope of Israel and the hope of the world rested on Mary,
and she obeyed and Jesus was born.

The hope of our world rests today on us - will we be like her?
will we give birth to God in our actions and thoughts,
will we obey the Lord,
and walk in his ways?

John's call to the people of Israel was Prepare Ye The Way of The
Lord

Advent and Christmas - a time of goodness - a goodness that can
last and spread throughout the world - if we indeed do prepare
ourselves, if we hope and obey like Mary - for with God nothing is
impossible.

When we accept God's message to us through the angels,
          through the prophets,
          and through Jesus
not only our souls will magnify the Lord,
but the souls of every man, woman and child who encounters us,
for they will see the promise of God coming true in our lives.
Thanks be to God for the gift of his word - Jesus Christ our Lord. 
AMEN


copyright - Rev. Richard J. Fairchild 1996 - 2005
             please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.



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