December 19th, 2021 – Pastor Elizabeth

4 Advent Year C / December 19, 2021 / St. Paul’s Random Lake / Luke 1:39-55

 In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, 40 where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42 and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43 And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44 For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be[e] a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

Mary’s Song of Praise

46 And Mary[f] said, “My soul magnifies the Lord,
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
    Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me,  and holy is his name.
50 His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,
55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

Mary’s Journey

Let us pray. Blessed are you, O Lord our God, ruler of the Universe and blessed is the fruit of my womb. Lord, help me to bear this responsibility that you have entrusted to me. AMEN.

Joseph! Joseph! I think we need to get going soon!

It won’t be long now. I’m not sure I’m ready.

If only we didn’t have to take this long journey to Bethlehem so close to my time. I don’t treasure the thought of a donkey ride in this condition.

Why do the Romans need to take a census anyway? And why can’t they just count us where we are instead making us all go to their hometown to be counted?

I shouldn’t complain, I suppose. I’m fortunate to be here at all. When Joseph found out that I was with child and he knew it wasn’t his I shutter to think of what he could have let them do to me—stoning or worse.

I thought he would never believe me when I told him the truth—that I hadn’t been with someone else. At first he was ready to just send me away. It’s a good thing those angels got busy talking.

I thought Joseph would just laugh at me when I told him I was visited by an angel, that the Holy Spirit had come to me in a special way to give me this child in my womb. But it seems that God sent an angel to Joseph too and made it right so that Joseph went through with the marriage as planned.

I’m so relieved that I don’t have to go through this all alone. Joseph! We need to get going!

I’m frightened. I don’t know what to expect. I’m told that most first time parents feel this anxiety. It’s perfectly ordinary.

Yet, at the same time I know that God is up to something and I’m a part of it. I am the servant of the Lord. God asked if He could use me to carry out his plan and I said, “yes.” Now all I can do is wait.

Why would God choose someone like me to bear the Son of God? It doesn’t make sense. I’m barely old enough to be a wife and mother. I don’t have much to offer. I come from a poor family. Certainly there must have been a better choice. Yet, God chose me. God chose me.

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
    Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name.
Believe me, I don’t feel so different from all of you. God asked me to do this thing. I felt unworthy, frightened. I wanted to run away, but the angel promised me that the Holy Spirit was with me. I had to trust God. I had to trust that God knows what God is doing and God picked me. And God can use me, even me to do God’s will.

Have you ever felt that way? That God was calling you to do something, but you hesitated because you were afraid? Maybe it was something smaller. I know that angels don’t just appear every day and tell people they aare going to be the mother of God. But sometimes small steps can be as hard to take as the big ones.

So, you know what helped me? When I took a chance and want to see my cousin Elizabeth. She could have easily scolded me or judged me, but instead God let me know she would understand.

Right away when I walked through the door she made me feel that everything would be all right. More than all right—she called me blessed. I felt so much better to have her support and encouragement. It helped me to go on knowing that I’m not alone. The Lord is with me!

Still I’m scared. I’ve never had a baby before. I know it will hurt. And I have no idea what kind of mother I will be. To the Son of God! I shutter to think of it! Will Joseph stand by me? Will he help me raise this boy as his own? Will he teach him the ways of carpentry? It seems like he believes like he is part of God’s plan and that he will make this journey with me. But how far will he go? Will he go until the end?

Oh, Lord God, I hope you know what you’re doing. I feel this excitement growing inside me that you are doing something wonderful and new, but I hope you didn’t make a mistake in choosing me. You must see something in me that I can’t see. Help me to trust your plan.

(SIGH) Talking to the LORD makes me feel so much better. When you feel afraid of your next step, God is with you too. Don’t be afraid to share with God your doubts and your fears, God will see you through the task he calls you to.

50 His mercy is for those who fear him
    from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
    he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
    and lifted up the lowly;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
    and sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    in remembrance of his mercy,
55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
    to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

God keeps promises. I can count on that. I don’t need to be afraid. That’s what the angel told me and Elizabeth reassured me. I can step out in faith trusting that I don’t need to take this journey alone. God is with me.

(slight pain) Now if only Joseph would give me the same promise so that we can get on the road to Bethlehem. And I don’t have this baby right here, right now! Joseph!

Is this what it means to be blessed among women? God, help me! I’m trusting you now!

BREATH OF HEAVEN

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