Advent Week Two: Peace on Sunday, December 6, 2020

From Ordinary to Extraordinary (adapted from the Salvation Army in Canada’s Christmas resources)

How would you describe Advent? One writer had this idea about Advent, saying it’s “…the time just before the adventure begins, when everybody is leaning forward to hear what will happen, even though they already know what will happen and what will not happen; when they listen hard for meaning, their meaning, and begin to hear, only faintly at first, the beating of unseen wings.”

Reading from Luke 1:26‐38, where the birth of Jesus is foretold: “In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’ Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.’

‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’ The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God. Your cousin Elizabeth has also conceived a son, old as she is. Indeed, this is the sixth month for her, a woman who was called barren. For no promise of God can fail to be fulfilled.’ Mary responded, ‘I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to accept whatever he wants. May everything you have said come true.’ And then the angel left her.”

It’s said that in Luke chapter 1 we read about the beginning of God’s love story with humanity. The scene between Gabriel, the angel, and Mary is incredible. So much is left unsaid, no doubt because describing an angelic visit isn’t your everyday occurrence! We can only imagine how we might have reacted if it were us standing there, hearing these amazing and strange words. One writer suggests that in Mary’s response to the angel, “…she is affirming that she is the slave of the Lord. She is surrendering her rights, her hopes and her dreams and her own body absolutely to him. The message that has come to her through the angel is absolute and life‐changing.” For us today, Advent continues to bring our imaginations to life, and thrills us with the depictions of all that happened before Jesus Christ came into the world. May it be, for us, as well as for the mother of Jesus, a life‐changing experience!