Its About to Get Lighter 12-21-14

This sermon is based on Luke 1:26-38; which is the story of the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary to announce her pending pregnancy. This sermon is a little shorter than normal as the Sunday School children presented their Christmas program in worship today.  Within the sermon, I explore the notion that God chooses insignificant people to do amazing things, and that includes us as well.

You can listen to the sermon here:

You can also follow along with the text of the sermon here.

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

I have a confession to make. Today is one of my least favorite days of the entire year. (pause) Despite all the great things going on today…the joy of gathering together in fellowship…the blessing of Jesus’ resurrection that we celebrate every Sunday…and especially the joy we find when our Sunday School children share their Christmas message through song…despite all these wonderful things, I…don’t like today.

December 21st…the winter solstice…the shortest day of the year…the longest night of the year…As a self-professed solar powered individual, these short days are just plain hard. (pause) Sometimes in order to battle my negative thoughts towards the solstice, I start thinking about how the whole cycle works…the scientific basis behind the rotation of the Earth, and angle of our planet compared to the sun, the movements of various celestial bodies…all that stuff that figures in to why some days are literally longer than others. Sometimes, I think I’ve got a pretty handle on all that…I understand it pretty well…but then at other times, I’m completely lost as to just why it all happens. But regardless of my lack of understanding, it still happens does it, whether we’re paying attention or not. (pause)

Today’s gospel features a similar sort of situation. Here we are, the final week of advent, and today’s story features the biggest news that any single individual in all of human history has ever received…Mary…blessed one…you will bear the Son of the Most high…you…will have a son.

And as we hear…Mary…is confused. She’s confused by the greeting of the angel…and she’s certainly confused by the news that she receives…and to her credit, she poses the question that any of us would likely experience given her situation. (pause) How…Can…This…Be?

Not only is Mary a virigin, therefore making pregnancy, pretty much impossible…she also knows her situation. She’s a no name girl, in a no name town, in a backwater region. She’s a nobody…why on earth would God ever chose her for this? (pause)

Perhaps this is a question that we all face from time to time…particularly in terms of matters of faith. Who am I Lord, that you would notice me? Who am I, that you love me enough for all this? Who am I, that you would choose me for this task? (pause) And just as Mary recognized the apparent impossibility of what the angel was telling her, we too face the seemingly impossible nature of all that God is doing in our reality.

Yet despite our lack of understanding…we hear these words…for nothing will be impossible with God. (pause) We have a God who will not be contained. We cannot place God inside a box. God will not be hindered…not by our lack of understanding…not by our limitations, not by our faults…and God will not be hindered by what we deem to be impossible.

My friends, when God chooses to work for change, nothing is off limits, whether we get it or not…whether we like it or not…and in a few short days, God is going to prove it once more…by entering into our reality as a helpless baby…born to simple girl…with nothing special about her…and God will do this…simply because he chooses to…because he loves us enough, despite our brokenness…despite our flawed reality…he loves us enough to do something about it…and in the birth of Jesus Christ, God proves that this blessed gift…this reality altering work is for everyone…not just the rich and famous…not just for royalty…not just for the haves at the expense of the have nots…but by choosing this simple girl from a simple town in a backwater region…God reminds us that salvation is offered to all of us…we are all blessed, just like Mary, long before we say yes to what God asks of us.

This is the remarkable nature of the gospel…that it is offered to each and every one of us…and it is happening…whether we understand it or not. (pause)

Today may be the shortest day of the year…and the longest night of the year…and if that is the case then that means today is the darkest that we will experience…but remember that when Jesus enters into this world…the light shines in the darkness. (pause) Today may be dark…but its about to get a whole lot lighter. Amen

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