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Summary: As Christmas approaches, Mary the mother of our saviour teaches us how we too can get our attitude right with God, and see his blessings unfold. Let us see!

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This sermon was delivered to St Oswald’s in Maybole,

Ayrshire, Scotland on the 23rd December 2012

(a Scottish Episcopal Church in the Dioceses of Glasgow and Dumfries).

Ezekiel 37:1-14 Romans 8:6-11 John 11:1-45 Psalm 130

Welcome

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

Today is the forth Sunday of Advent and in Year C, and today we celebrate the Virgin Mary, the Madonna, the Mother of Christ and the theme of today's service is getting of attitude right before God. To start the service we will light the forth, the pink candle symbolising Joy and then we will have the peace.

We meet in Christ's name. Let us share his peace.

The Gospel Reading.

Hear the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to John 11 verses 1 verses 45. Glory to Christ our Saviour.

Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. ... ... ... and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.

Give thanks to the Lord for his Glorious gospel. Praise to Christ our Lord.

“Please be seated, and join me in a short prayer.” Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of our hearts, be acceptable in your sight, O Lord. Amen. (Ps. 19:14)

Introduction

Yes it is nearly that time of year again, Christmas, you can not miss it. I mean, look at the build up to it; the expectation, the excitement and the great event itself; all promoted by the media and the shops.

And every year the message from Marketing is the same, and that is “what a wonderful Christmas this is going to be”, “make sure you stock up with everything, (preferable from us), as the more you buy, the more special it will be. The TV companies also like to get your attention in the hype, by showing all the great programs they will be broadcasting.

The reality for me is different. I normally work right up to Christmas Eve, and the next day is Christmas so I am still tired and I am still in work mode. Instead of it snowing outside, with everything white as on the Christmas card, it will be unusually mild, and most probably raining. Our presents are always agreed on long before December, to avoid that East Enders Christmas; so there is nothing special there for us.

I will usually get a row somewhere during the day for burning the Christmas dinner, and there will be plenty of left over’s that only the dog will want to eat; our dog loves Christmas. And then we settle to relax in front of the Television to watch one of the great movies they promised us; only to find it is a cartoon. I bought the DVD of the “Great Escape” years ago, but Christine will not let me watch it on Christmas day, but that is OK because I will not let her watch that Tom Cruise film; so forgive because I am a bit immune to the Christmas hype.

I still like Christmas though, but just before the birth of Jesus, there was also a hype; a similar sense of excitement and expectation; as the people felt something wonderful was about to happen; as the Scriptures had promised the coming of the Messiah, who would turn the world around, and deliver Israel from all her enemies.

And the rumours were rampant, that this would be very soon, but if those same people, who were so high with expectation, had gone to a backyard stable in the town of Bethlehem, they might have said, “Is that it? All that hype for this? A baby lying in a manger”?

But as you know, the reality turned out greater than the expectation. No one could have guessed how this child would change the world, nor the impact he would have on world history, and the change Jesus would make in people’s lives.

Not even Mary; who I am sure ... understood fully the difference her son would make. She did know he would be something special; for an angel had visited her and told her what was going to happen; and despite her fears, she said in Luke 1:38, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said”?

She was obviously thinking about all of this for quite for a while, (and who wouldn’t be), because when she went to visit her cousin Elizabeth, her joy spilled into song.

I want us to look briefly this morning at this song, for there are three important truths I want to discuss; the three key statements Mary sang, the first was: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour”. Basically she begins by praising God for her salvation; and salvation means forgiveness.

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