Summary: sermon for the 4th Sunday in Advent, Year C, 2012
Luke 1: 39 – 45 / Why Has This Happened To Me?
Intro: Have a holly, jolly Christmas; it's the best time of the year. I don't know if there'll be snow, but have a cup of cheer. Have a holly, jolly Christmas; and when you walk down the street say Hello to friends you know and everyone you meet. Oh ho, the mistletoe hung where you can see; somebody waits for you; kiss her once for me. Have a holly jolly Christmas and in case you didn't hear, oh by golly have a holly jolly Christmas this year. (by Burl Ives) A holly, jolly Christmas is what everyone wants this time of year.
I. What is the recipe for a “holly, jolly Christmas?” Most of us are under a lot of pressure to feel joy this time of year.
A. Many believe that if you combine a large number of family and friends with the right gifts and the right meal you will have that holly, jolly Christmas.
B. What if you aren’t surrounded by large numbers of family and friends? What if the economy has been hard on you and you aren’t able to fill your house with gifts?
C. VSS. 39 – 40 Why did Mary make this arduous journey of about 80 miles on foot? Maybe she was wondering why she had been “chosen”. Maybe she needed reassurance from her older, wiser relative who had also been “chosen”.
II. Have you ever been chosen to do something that you seriously doubted your abilities to complete? First, you ask yourself, “Why me?” Then, approach the situation in one of 2 ways.
A. Brag or bluff your way through. “No problem! I can do it.”
B. Humbly acknowledge your self-doubt and do your best. Mary had an “I’m not worthy attitude” toward the blessings God had given her.
C. Do you have an “I’m not worthy” attitude toward the good things in life or are you someone who believes the commercials we see on TV that tell us that we deserve the best of everything?
III. VS. 43 Elizabeth’s “why me”? This is not a complaint; it is an expression of humility in the face of God’s great mercy and grace.
A. VS. 45 Elizabeth says this of Mary; but is it not also true for us? Are we not blessed as we realize that God continues to love us in spite of our sins, faults and failures.
B. When we mix humility with an awareness of God’s mercy shown to us in God’s undeserved love in Christ Jesus, we begin to understand the true meaning of Christmas.
C. God humbled Himself, lowered himself to the level of being n infant, born in a manger. God humbled himself allowing people to reject and ridicule him. God humbled himself to the point of dying on a cross to take all our sins away. That is the greatest gift of Christmas!
Conclu: There is a Christmas song titled, “Do You Hear What I Hear?” It is a poignant song that encourages us to listen. Do you hear in the simple word of God the joyful promises make time and again to each of us? Do we listen closely to hear God’s voice of joyful promise? Do you hear the promise made to Mary, Elizabeth and us?