We are quickly approaching Christmas. Many are scurrying to get last minute preparations in place. This Sunday is the final Sunday in the season of Advent, and we continue to follow the lectionary passages through this season. We have been reflecting on writings of Isaiah this year, and we will do this again on Christmas Eve. But this Sunday, we shift to the New Testament. We will consider a central character in the Christmas story, Mary. Let me invite you to read this week’s passage as you prepare for worship on Sunday. I will include it here from the NTE.
(Luke 1:26-38 NTE) In the sixth month, Gabriel the angel was sent from God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man called Joseph, from the family of David. The virgin was called Mary. ‘Greetings, favoured one!’ said the angel when he arrived. ‘May the Lord be with you!’ She was disturbed at this, and wondered what such a greeting might mean. ‘Don’t be afraid, Mary,’ said the angel to her. ‘You’re in favour with God. Listen: you will conceive in your womb and will have a son; and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be a great man, and he’ll be called the son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever. His kingdom will never come to an end.’ ‘How will this happen?’ said Mary to the angel. ‘I’m still a virgin!’ ‘The holy spirit will come upon you,’ replied the angel, ‘and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. For that reason the holy one who is born from you will be called God’s Son. ‘Let me tell you this, too: your cousin Elisabeth, in her old age, has also conceived a son. This is the sixth month for her, a woman who people used to say was barren. With God, you see, nothing is impossible.’ ‘Here I am,’ said Mary; ‘I’m the Lord’s servant-girl. Let it happen to me as you’ve said.’ Then the angel left her.
Also, don’t forget the virtual Christmas Eve service this year. While we sad to not be able to meet in person, many have been working hard to bring a unique virtual experience to you at 7 PM on Christmas Eve. You will be able to access the service on the YouTube Channel or the church website.