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Sermon 12/15/19

SCRIPTURE Luke 1:46b-55

Background: these are the words of Mary, mother of Jesus.

She is pregnant with Jesus and is visiting her relative,

Elizabeth, who is pregnant with a son, who we know as John

the Baptist. These words are from Mary after the two women

greet one another.

"My soul magnifies the Lord,

   and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

for he has looked with favor on the lowliness

   of his servant.

Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;

   for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy

is his name.

His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to


He has shown strength with his arm;

   he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.

He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,

   and lifted up the lowly;

he has filled the hungry with good things,

   and sent the rich away empty.

He has helped his servant Israel,

   in remembrance of his mercy,

according to the promise he made to our ancestors,

   to Abraham and to his descendants forever."

These are the words of an expectant mother who is in an unexpected situation.

These are the words of humble praise.

These are the words of joy!

They don’t express giddiness or happiness. They don’t ignore the fact that there is a need for mercy, that there are prideful thoughts, or that there are hungry people. Yet, these words express joy - that God’s presence is made known in the midst of it all. All the highs and all the lows. In all of it, God fulfills the promise to be with the Lord’s people.

In our Advent devotional today, I very much appreciate the illustration used. Bowling pins. Bowling pins continually get knocked down - sometimes all at once, sometimes one at a

time. And yet, those things keep getting getting put back up. The same thing happens in our world...that the proud and tyrannical powers of this world get knocked down...and they

rise again. From generation to generation.

The needs of the hungry and homeless are met, and then those needs rise again. From generation to generation. Our goal, our mission as Christ-followers, should we choose to accept it, is to maintain the joy of the Lord in the midst of the rising and falling of the needs and worldly powers. As we heard last week as well, God will up-end the “natural” order

of things in this world as often as needed in order for the Lord’s presence to be made known.

We can find joy in the fact that no matter how many times we may feel knocked down or how many times we see needs rise again, God’s presence is consistent in it all and there is real power in the teachings of Jesus and the Holy Spirit to overcome - time after time.

As you are making your own preparations for celebrating Jesus’ birth, also think of how you can prepare the path for the ways of Jesus to be present in this world: ways of hope, ways of peace, ways of joy. How can you help another experience the joy of the Lord, even in the midst of all the ups and downs? Amen.

*Also, check our choir's wonderful cantata presentation, posted on Facebook.*

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