May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be always acceptable in your sight, Oh Lord, or strength and our redeemer. Amen.
We’re in the final stretch of our Advent Journey.
Christmas is quickly upon us:
And that means that our Jesse tree adventure is nearing its end too.
But not quite yet.
We’re not quite there.
Last week we explored the story of Elizabeth and Zechariah.
More specifically, Zechariah:
How he lost his ability to speak:
Because he couldn’t believe the news that the Angel told him:
That his wife Elizabeth
Would bear a son:
Even in their old age.
And that the son would be great:
Would be the one to prepare the way.
And that his name would be John.
Zechariah lost his ability to speak until after Elizabeth birthed their son.
It wasn’t until John’s naming ceremony,
That Zechariah’s speech was returned to him:
And he proclaimed the name of his child:
Last week’s invitation was to find something that you would speak up for.
Does anybody have any they’d like to share and add to the Jesse tree?
We’ve had three weeks to explore three different bible stories from some of Jesus’ ancestors.
From Abraham and Sarah at the very beginning of the bible.
To Ruth and Naomi:
To Elizabeth and Zechariah:
The parents of Jesus’ cousin.
Last week I told you that we were inching much closer to the birth of Jesus:
Not only in the Advent season:
But in our visiting of the stories of Jesus’ lineage.
We’re getting REAL close.
Today we’re going straight to Jesus’ mother.
In the story of Jesus’ family tree,
Mary is as close to Jesus as you can get.
And this one is going to be particularly fun,
Because Mary’s story (as we saw last week) intersects with Elizabeth’s story.
So we’ll even see Elizabeth again today.
And here we go. (READ THE STORY Luke 1:46-55)
Mary’s song of praise is known as the Magnificat,
Because in Latin, the first word of “my soul magnifies the Lord” is not “my soul, but “Magnify.”
As this song bursts forth from Mary upon her arrival at Elizabeth’s home,
The song reveals much about who she is:
A humble servant who knows she is blessed.
Not because of what she has,
But because of what God has done.
She is one who can recognize the mercy of God at work through the generations;
A young person who already perceives the need or God to bring the proud,
The powerful, and the rich low in order or God’s promises to take hold.
Mary believes that there is good news to be had or people who are poor and hungry.
As a prophet, she employs beautiful and poetic language to inspire generations of faithful people.
As a person of faith,
She knows God’s promise will take hold down through the generations,
Beyond what she will see and know.
Mary’s song of praise also reveals much about who her son will be.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!
I the ancestors o Jesus have all lent something to the story of salvation:
(Like we’ve heard with Abraham, Sarah, Ruth, Naomi, Elizabeth and Zechariah)
And knowing there are many MANY others:
How much more will Jesus’ own mother offer to salvations story?
Just imagine Mary in the stable on Christmas,
Or later perhaps more comfortable in a wooden rocking chair that Joseph made.
Picture Mary when her son first experiences injustice on the streets or at the playground,
Or when Jesus sees the brutality of Roman soldiers and the violence of empire.
Time and again,
Singing the words of today’s reading over her child,
Hoping he will take them to heart.
My soul magnifies the Lord:
My spirit rejoices in in God my savior.
For he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Mary’s response is one of GREAT joy.
(Sort of like the Joy that Abraham and Sarah had in the birth of their son.)
And the joy that Elizabeth and Zechariah had, at the birth of their son.
And the joy that Ruth and Naomi shared in journeying through their life together.
And their births certainly bring us great joy.
But many other things can too.
Other relationships: (Like Ruth and Naomi’s)
Other blessings from God.
Other GOOD and beautiful and joyous things.
What sparks great joy for you?
You have SIX days, this time:
To bring something on Christmas Eve that sparks Joy for you.
I brought one of my special handmade ornaments.
This is multi-faceted joy,
Because as a quilter, and a sewer:
I love to make handmade things.
But this is especially joy-sparking because every year,
My grandma, makes a cross stitched, bell-shaped Christmas ornament for her grandchildren.
I have one for every year since I’ve been born.
(So I have quite a few.)
She’s also been making one every year for my kids:
Her great grand-children.
She tries to put something on the ornament to mark that particular year.
And it always brings me GREAT joy,
To receive my handmade ornament from my grandma.
To share with you:
I brought my ornament from last year:
Which marked our move to Wisconsin.
And I’ll hang it on the tree.
Because it brings me great joy.
Enjoy the weekly sermons at anytime.