Sermon for Advent 4 – December 20, 2020

+ 4th Sunday in Advent – December 20, 2020 +

Series B: 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16; Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38

Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church

Milton, WA

 

“The Strangest Story in the World”

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Growing up our family had a tradition that when we were telling stories about our day over dinner someone would raise their hand if they’d already heard it; if it was a familiar story.

 

Today we probably all could’ve raised our hands as Luke told us the story of the angel Gabriel’s visit to the Virgin Mary. It is a beautiful, well-known, well loved, and well-read…familiar story.

 

And that’s not a bad thing. Familiar Scriptures are familiar for a reason. The angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary is a beautiful story, full of comfort, hope, promise, joy, and grace in the coming savior. When it comes to God’s Word and promises in Jesus familiarity is good; it breeds comfort and contentment.

 

Still, there’s a temptation – like there was at our family dinner table – to hear a familiar story and tune it out. “Oh, I’ve heard that story before. I know how that story goes.”

 

And when we do that we might just find ourselves missing out on how strange and wonderful this story really is. It is a truly remarkable, extraordinary story, both in what God promises, and how He fulfills his promises.

 

So, let’s take a few moments this morning to wonder at the wonder of Gabriel’s visit to Mary.

 

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 

 

It’s not every day an angel drops in to deliver a message. In fact, before delivering God’s message to Zechariah, Joseph, and Mary, God’s people hadn’t heard from Gabriel since the days of the prophet Daniel, over 400 years ago.

 

Strangely, when he arrives, where does Gabriel go? Not the capital. Not Jerusalem. A tiny settlement up in the hills of northern Galilee. Nazareth. A forgettable town. A no place, really. The butt of the joke that everyone knew, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

 

Stranger still, God sends Gabriel to a Virgin. A teenager. Probably too young to drive if she lived in 2020. And definitely not anyone’s pick for Galilee’s fortune 500; she was engaged to marry a humble carpenter from the equally humble, lowly, little town of Bethlehem.

 

All the more reason why Gabriel’s message must’ve sounded strange to Mary.

 

“Greetings (literally, “Rejoice!”), O favored one (one graced by God), the Lord is with you.” Do not be afraid, Mary,” he said, “for you have found favor with God. And you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus.

 

Mary knew what we know. Ordinarily, virgins don’t bear children. “How can this be, since I have not known a man?”

Impossible for us, but not for God. So, God doubles down on his extraordinary work; tops it all off with the strangest, yet most joyful news of all. Mary’s Son… shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Strange, yet wonderful indeed! The Virgin Mother would also be the Mother of God. Mary’s Son is also Mary’s Lord, and ours. The child in her womb is her Savior and ours. The Holy One of Israel, the Son of God, becomes a frail, fragile, puny baby boy.

 

Today. Tomorrow. In the next few weeks. I encourage you to stop. Take a moment. And ponder how remarkable this story is. Marvel at the mystery. And take comfort in the familiar, yet extraordinary grace of God. That God sent his angel Gabriel to a forgotten, nobody town, to announce to a poor, unwed teenage girl that the God of infinite cosmic power would take up the itty bitty living space in her womb for nine months. To live for you. To die for you. To rise for you.

 

How strange. How joyful. How wonderful this story is.

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
8:30am-12:30pm

By appointment only June and July

Contact

Address
2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
Phone
(253) 922-6977
Fax
(253) 922-6977
E-mail
staff@mybslc.com