Fourth Sunday in Advent
Passage: Luke 1:26–1:38
†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: Luke 1:26-38
Date: December 24th, 2017; Advent 4; Series B
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary…”
I stand amazed before her - and she looks in amazement at me.
But my amazement is greater than hers.
She is amazed at my appearing to her - but I am amazed at the tidings I bring her.
For she shall be a mother, though she knows not a man.
She shall conceive in her womb and bring forth a son, though a virgin she remains.
But it is who her Son will be that fills me with the greatest awe.
For this Child that shall be born of her shall truly be hers. A human being exactly as she is a human being. A creature of flesh and blood. A creature that grows from childhood to adulthood.
A creature that eats and sleeps and breathes – just as all human beings do.
And that is why I stare at her in awe.
For the little Child that shall soon be conceived in her womb and that she shall feed at her breast is none other than the Son of the Highest, God the Son, the eternal Word of the Father through whom I was made, through whom she was made, through whom all things are made.
She shall be mother of the Maker of all things.
She shall be mother of the Eternal One who was before the stars began their shining or the planets began their great dance.
She shall be mother of him whom it is our delight to serve and worship and praise, world without end.
The Child she bears shall reign over David’s house forever.
The promise of the Kingdom that has no end is fulfilled in him.
Mary, do you know what that means?
He will reign through endless days - and those over whom he reigns - will live in endless life.
Mary, do you know that you will carry in your womb him through whom death itself will be destroyed?
Mary, do you know that through the actions of your Son the sin that separates the human race from the all-holy Father will be covered, atoned for, and pardoned?
Mary, do you know how he will do it?
No. I can see that you do not know. That is best for now.
The day will come when you will stand on a darkened hill and see a sight of love so grievous that it will tear your soul in two.
But it will be his love for you and for your fallen race that drives him to it, Mary. So rejoice!
And do not worry yourself over how this promise I bring you will be fulfilled.
God knows that you are a virgin.
But his Holy Spirit will overshadow you and fill you and change you, and inside of you Life himself will begin to grow.
So the Holy One born of you will indeed be my Master, my Lord, my God.
It is impossible for any word of God to fail. His promises are more certain than heaven and earth.
He said it, and so, Mary, rejoice and be glad. It shall be so.
Humbly do I see you bow your head. Humbly and faithfully do I hear you utter these words: “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord.”
Humbly and faithfully do I hear you say, “Let it be to me according to your word.”
The moment has come, and the great time of God’s keeping all of his promises has begun.
Begun in you, Mary. Begun in your womb, which he shall make his holy temple and his home for the next nine months, during which his tiny infant heart will beat beneath your own.
Until that moment when the Lord blesses you and keeps you and makes his face shine upon you and gives you peace.
Rejoice, Mary, for blessed is the fruit of your womb.
Farewell, then, Mary, until we meet once more, until together we bow before the Child you will bear and worship at his feet and give him eternal praise in the Kingdom he comes to prepare.
Farewell until we are reunited in the presence of all who have trusted in your Son for forgiveness and salvation, in the life that has no end, where the joys are eternal and where the sorrows are forgotten.
Farewell, vessel of his grace!
Farewell, temple of his presence!
Farewell, Mary, child of David, child of Abraham, mother of God! Farewell.
“And the angel departed from her.” Amen.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.