On the third Sunday of Advent I had the honor of reading with my children at Plymouth. When I am asked to do this I’m always humbled and elated to have the opportunity to share in the message of the service. Even more, I find such joy in seeing my children have the experience.
Luke 1:26 – 38
The Birth of Jesus Foretold
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
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[a] 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.
Pastor Bill willingly, and caringly, aided Zachary in lighting the third candle while I had the honor to read the following:
“It is amazing how the young woman Mary is fully obedient to the Lord, even though she doesn’t fully understand the implications of what is about to happen to her. We hold up Mary as a woman of strong faith – her faith is strong not simply because she listens, but it is strong because she accepts God’s Word, even when she doesn’t fully understand it.
(and the congregation prayed)
Heavenly Father, you know that many times in our lives we hold back our faith because we cannot fully understand what is happening in our lives. We ask this morning that you give us the boldness to step out and act, allowing you to guide us when the way is uncertain – Amen.”
Oh, how I can so relate to this message. Seems that maybe Pastor Bill picked it with me in mind.
And sometimes God sends his message through others so that he knows we hear it without static or a loose connection.
“Make Room for the Savior
Advent is a call to prepare our hearts and our minds to be like Mary when she said, “Be it unto me according to Thy Word.” The apostle Paul wrote the Galatians, “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you” (Galatians 4:19).
The Seed of Heaven has been sown in our hearts. We are eternal people with the heavenly nature of God in us. We have a testimony that is both personal and eternal. Our lives are joined to the events that took place in Bethlehem, and an active part of the unfolding events that will come.
The more we, like Mary, give ourselves over to Christ being formed in us, saying to the Father, “Not my will but Your will be done,” the more we will harmonize with the coming visitation in our generation, participate in His miracles, and ultimately usher in the glorious appearing of Christ at the end of the age. If Christ is in you, you are the light of the world where you are. Where you are, Christ has come!
Remember Christ our Savior was born this Christmas day!
So this Christmas, (and everyday) I encourage you to tell the story. Share it with your children. Demonstrate God’s love and light to your friends and neighbors. Watch in expectation for God to move. Let us enter into our hour of visitation. We are in a season of miracles.”