Summary: A sermon for the 4th Sunday in Advent.
“When God Comes To Town”
God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth to speak to a young virgin named Mary.
“Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
And what was Mary’s response?
It was a very human response...
...she was both troubled and stricken with fear.
The fear is understandable, I mean, an angelic being from God was standing right in front of her.
But Mary was also troubled by his words because she couldn’t understand how God could so greatly
favor a person like herself!
Have you ever felt this way?
One of the biggest obstacles that gets in the way of our accepting the the grace and mercy of the Lord is
our lack of self-esteem!
How could God love a sinner such as I?
How could God save a sinner such as I?
Why would God want to come inside of me and live inside of my heart, body and mind?
Of course, the answer is simple, “For God so loved the world...”
Recently, I was driving down Jefferson Avenue when I saw a bumper sticker on the back of a car in front
...there was one of those big yellow smiley faces on it...
...and the words said: “Smile, God loves you!”
They are simple words, but they convey the greatest and most liberating truth the world could ever
God loves me, God loves you, God loves each and every one of us!
How easy it is to not notice or not believe this truth...
...especially if we are not part of the ‘in’ or so--called ‘popular’ crowd at school or at work....
...especially if we have been born in very modest circumstances....
...especially if we don’t have the greatest job in the world....or our boss treats us as his or her door mat...
...especially if we are loaded down by the guilt of our sins...the guilt of being human beings who live in a fallen
We are naked!
We did hide from God in the Garden!
How could He love us....
....we’ve been so bad!?
Well, God has sent great news to us through the angel Gabriel!
God does love us...no matter what!
We are highly favored by God...so very highly favored!
And what a blessing this great news is!
The Lord is with us!
The Lord is with us even when we would least expect Him to be...or when we ourselves do not even
know Him at all.
The Bible tells us that it is God who first loved us...
...it is not us who first loved God!
God is busy working in all of our lives....
....even when we are being the most rebellous or the most apathetic....
....even when we are hurting others or hurting ourselves....
....even as our depression and lack of self-love has reached it’s zenith.
Even, even....even then and always Jesus says: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears
my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”
Have we heard God’s voice?
Have we felt God’s love?
Have we smiled because of it?
When I recieved my faith...
...at first, I was a bit frightened and troubled.
I owned a business that was doing pretty well.
I was my own boss....
....but I was being called to do something else.
All my life I had heard Jesus knocking on the door of my heart.