Fourth Sunday in Advent

 

Fourth Sunday in Advent (Series B)icon-download-pdf-wp
December 24, 2017

Gospel: Luke 1:26-38
Epistle: Rom. 16:25-27
Lesson: 2 Sam. 7:1-16
Psalm: Psalm 89:1-4, 14-18

CLB Commentary – Rev. Gary Witkop

Miracles! The Christmas story is all about miracles. It is about the fact that God is not limited in any way and can do anything He wants to do. The barren Elizabeth was pregnant in her old age. Angels appear to humans. A virgin gets pregnant with a child of the Holy Spirit. A young lady believes the words of an Angel as the promise of God. That same young lady shows true humility in the face of a huge calling. All miracles, “For nothing is impossible with God.” Which is the greater miracle, a virgin giving birth to the Son of God, or that same young lady believing God’s promises? Both are miracles, aren’t they? Miracles happen every day.

Overshadow, “episkiazo”, “to cast a shadow over, to invest with preternatural influence, to envelope in a haze of brilliancy.” “And the Spirit moved upon the face of the waters.” Gen. 1:2. Moved, “rachaph”,” to brood, be relaxed, flutter, move, shake.” Both from Strong’s Concordance. I like the idea of God’s Spirit moving or fluttering over Mary as he enveloped her in a haze of brilliancy. At least it would make for a good Hollywood movie. It was the same Spirit that came upon Mary as moved over the surface of earth at creation contemplating what He would create. Here the Spirit was placing a part of the unlimited God in a fragile and very limited Mary. “For nothing is impossible with God.”

I see connections between the creation event and the virgin birth. Something impossible was brought forth in both cases by the work of the Holy Spirit. And both were gifts to mankind, perhaps the two greatest, life and eternal life.

This is Jesus’ mother’s side of the story, Mary’s story. After the birth of Jesus, these were some of the things she “pondered in her heart.” Luke 2:19. Things that preach.

God does Miracles, then and today. We often only consider the huge miracles of creation, the parting of the Red Sea, the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus, to be true miracles. But what about true humility? What about the daily miracles of God enabling us to be what He wants us to be so we can be a light in this world? What a gift He gives to us.

God has given us the greatest gift of Himself in Jesus. This is after all, what Christmas is all about.

God used the Holy Spirit to do great things, and still does today. Just as God’s Holy Spirit was active in creation, and was active in the birth of Jesus, and in the beginning of the early church, so to the Holy Spirit is active today. Most of the work of the Holy Spirit today is done in the hearts of His people. When He works in us, it is a gift like a package under the tree.

Believing His word is still what God wants from us, just as he did from Abraham and Mary. Mary believed what the Angel had said and responded; “Behold I am the servant of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.” Whenever anyone responds to God’s promises that way, it is a miracle. Let us all respond accordingly. Let it be done to me as you have said.

Christmas Eve
Third Sunday in Advent