Worship at Home for Sunday December 19 2021

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the Fourth Sunday of Advent when we will take time in wonder about Jesus’ birth. If you would like a home visit, conversation, or home communion, please call me at 573-437-2779 (church) or 573-832-2475 (cell).

Announcements:

  • Sunday School after worship
  • Offering envelopes will be available for pick up on Sunday.
  • Sign up for Salvation Army Bell Ringing, Saturday, December 18 (4-6 is available).
  • Christmas Eve Youth Program at 6:30
  • Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at 11pm
  • Pastor Stephanie will be on vacation from December 25 to January 4. Call the church office, if you need pastoral care.

Prayers and Blessings,

Pastor Stephanie DeLong

Scripture Lessons: Micah 5:2-5a, Luke 146b-55, Psalm 80:1-7, Hebrews 10:5-10, Luke 1:39-45-18 To read online https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/texts.php?id=98

 

Sermon:       Wondering   

Do you ever wonder what it would be like to be Mary? I am guessing that many of you have pondered just what you might have felt, said and done should the angel Gabriel have come and spoken to you. The lectionary leaves out the story of Gabriel’s visit this year. I think that it is important to review the story from Luke 1:26-37.

Mary is a young woman/adolescent who is engaged to marry a man named Joseph. She has probably been going about her day just like any other when Gabriel appears and says, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” I wonder if she started to look around her to see if there was someone actually important in the vicinity. The angel recognizes her confusion and tells her not to be afraid because she has found favor with God.

This almost sounds like one of those Christmas movies where an ordinary young woman finds herself winning the attention of a prince, such as the Christmas Prince on Netflix. Many ordinary young women have fantasies of being the chosen one, the Cinderella of the ball. However, this is God calling with the special message. God is far more powerful and awesome than a human prince.

God has some amazing news for Mary. Mary is to be a mother of the Son of the Most High. Mary only has one question, how? The Holy Spirit and the power of the Most High make it possible. Brave Mary responds with “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”  In other words, yes.

Of course, Mary had to tell someone about this, so she travels quickly to her cousin Elizabeth which leads us todays’ lesson which is filled with poetry, blessings, and joy. The joy that both women are unexpectedly pregnant with sons who will change the world forever. Poetry about the blessings that God bestows upon the poor and the ordinary over the rich and the powerful. Joy that the hungry will be filled, and that God’s promises are kept. Two women singing and sharing together in joy.

Oh, the wonder of it all! This fourth Sunday of Advent we prepare in wonder for the birth of the Christ Child. The arrival of any child is filled with hope and fear and preparation. So much needs to be done, so much will change.

I remember preparing for Eddy’s arrival in our lives. Rondel and I painted his bedroom blue and put up a teddy bear border. Rondel built a chest of drawers into the closet. My mother’ neighbor gave us their children’s crib. When we received word of our travel date for Guatemala, Rondel and I rushed to the store to purchase diapers, onesies and more. I am embarrassed to admit that at one point I wandered the baby aisle looking for baby underwear until it dawned on me that babies don’t need underwear because they wear diapers. I had to change my whole way of thinking to welcome a child!

All the people in the world would change their way of thinking because of Jesus. But for now, we remain in wonder at the baby to be born. I am in wonder of Mary who said yes to this angel announced change in her life. I am simply in wonder of it all.

To be in wonder means that we need put a pause on our busyness. I am a checklist person who often does not give myself permission to slow down and just ponder. How many of us are checklist folk driven to complete all the holiday preparations without enjoy the wonder of the preparations?

I did take time to watch a Christmas movie this week. It was “The Twelve Dates of Christmas”. Yes, it was one of those Lifetime Romantic Christmas movies. The heroine of the story was a young woman named Kate who was driven by her personal agenda and sadly her fear of being alone. Due to some strange magic Kate was forced to repeat Christmas Eve 12 times. Repeating the same day over and over forces Kate to ponder and examine her life until she learns to let go of her personal agenda and invite others into her life. The lonely young woman ends up being the organizer of a happy celebration with her new friends at her father’s home. By wondering about the people that she kept encountering each time she relived the same Christmas Eve changed her self-focused agenda to one of creating a loving community.

In these days before Christmas spend time in wonder about God’s love, Mary’s blessedness and the baby to be born. Look around with wonder and love at the people in your life. You may be inspired to create a loving community too.

Prayer: In our tradition, we do not often say the Hail Mary, but in wonder of Mary willingness to bear the Christ Child take time to do so this week.

Hail, Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among people who are mothers and blessed is the fruit of your nurturing. Holy Mary, bearer of God,
Prayer for us sinners now and forevermore. Amen.

                    Silent Prayer

                    Lord’s Prayer

 

Prayer list: All who have been on our list in the past and Elizabeth, Cheryl, Peggy, Mindy, Dave, Ken and Evelyn, Jason, tornado victims and those who are struggling financially and emotionally. Give thanks for the joys in our lives!

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