Posted on Dec 20, 2017 by Pastor Dave Whetter
I honestly cannot believe it is only a couple of days before Christmas. Christmas always sneaks up on me, and I never seem to be quite ready for it. As we learned this Advent season, though, the promise God makes to us to come and be with us will happen whether we are ready, or not.
This Sunday, December 24, when we gather in the morning for our Advent 4 worship service, we will not only get to watch our Salem children offer their version of the Christmas story, but we will hear the story of how the angel, Gabriel, shared the “Good News” with Mary that God was about to use her for something amazing. God would make her the mother of Jesus, the Son of God, or to use a big, fancy church term, God was using Mary to become incarnate, which means “God with Us.”
What always amazes me about this story is Mary’s response. At first, she wanted to know how such a thing could be because she wasn’t married and she hadn’t had any relations with her fiancé, Joseph, to which Gabriel responded matter-of-factly, “God will do this.” In response, Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).
There is no way Mary was ready to be a mother, and there is no way she could have understood what God was calling her to do in that moment, but Mary trusted God and her response was faithful, obedient, and generous. Mary knew God was the God of all creation and that nothing was impossible for Him; without hesitation, she trusted that God would do what was right. That is faith! Too often in our world we need to know everything before we are willing to move forward, but the story of Mary challenges us to live out our faith and to trust God. Mary’s life was not easy after this, but it was lived in faith.
Mary also knew that God expected her to be obedient to His will, and so throughout the Gospels we are reminded that Mary’s obedience never wavered, even at the foot of the cross when she had to watch her son be sacrificed, which brings me to her generosity. Mary, from the very beginning, had to be willing to share her son with the world. “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:32-33). Mary’s son was to be a king, and she would have to let go of him so that he could fulfill God’s will. Mary had to be generous enough to trust God completely and be willing to let her son be placed upon the cross for the benefit of the world.
As we prepare to celebrate this Christmas season, I pray that this story of Mary challenges all of us to live lives that are faithful, obedient, and generous to the will of God.
Merry Christmas, and have a blessed week!
Shalom, Pr. Dave