Today is the fourth Sunday of advent and this day we celebrate the coming of peace. The coming of our Lord and Savior. His name and His name alone will bring peace to the world. For His name is Holy. We know all these things because Mary was told by and Angel and “the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.” And so, He was and is and is to come. This is the end of everything we put our faith and hope in. The peace of God and everlasting life to enjoy it in. But none of this would be possible without a very impossible circumstance. The story of Mary is one of great faith and absolute trust. Consider her circumstances, think a minute about the time that Mary lived in. Women especially young women who were unmarried or newly married had virtually no position in the community. They were entirely dependent upon their husbands or fathers and a young woman who found herself pregnant on her wedding night might be stoned in the morning by morally outraged townsfolk. While it was not common it was also not unheard of. Still, Mary accepted the word of God. The Angel said “For nothing will be impossible with God” because while Mary had total faith in God, she wasn’t blindly babbling either. Think about it when she asked the angel “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”
Mary wasn’t denying the power of God instead she was questioning the intelligence of the Angel. Hello… Virgin…can’t get pregnant without some help, everyone knows this, especially young ladies and you would think Angels. Still Mary was right and after being told that it was God’s will, she had no more doubts, “then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Mary is at Peace. Not only is she at peace but she is so excited she can’t wait to go and tell her cousin Elizabeth. So, she takes off it says in haste she didn’t even pack a lunch or tell anybody anything she just took off, talk about fearless. That lack of fear, you can’t know that kind of peace without knowing the Lord and being fully committed to Him. By this I mean you’ll never know that kind of peace that fearlessness unless you abide entirely within the love of God. Until you have surrendered completely to the Lord, you’re always gonna have that little bit of a doubt in the back of your mind that what if moment, will it be OK, what if I lose my job, what if I fail that test. Maybe I should just hold back that little extra just in case the Lord doesn’t come through. Mary never doubted. And without that peace and joy that Christ brings to us we can second guess ourselves out of a relationship with God. We can second guess ourselves out of the peace that Jesus promised to us. That is why God sent Jesus to us in the first place so that we would have someone physical to place our trust in, someone we could relate to. Someone who could empathize with us but still be above us, a high priest that is truly Holy but accessible. The only way that that could be accomplished was for Jesus to be born as you and I. What qualities do you think that Mary had that the Lord should favor Mary above all others? What made Mary so special? I think and this is entirely my opinion it is not the gospel or rather it’s the gospel of Gene. But I think its Mary’s total faith and absolute trust in God that elevates her above all others. The Angel told Mary nothing is impossible for God. Jesus told us “all things are possible to him who believes.” James tells us we must ask in faith without any doubting for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. “And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.” The blessings of the Lord always come from our own faith and that faith can be passed on to others. Just as Mary is blessed by God for her faith and that blessing is then extended to her cousin Elizabeth who will give birth to John the Baptist.
“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spiritand exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” If you recall Zechariah was told by the Angel Gabriel that John would be filled with the Holy Spirit before he was ever born. “For nothing will be impossible with God.” The Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary and then passed to John the Baptist, only to return back to Jesus when he is baptized by John at the river Jordan. We too are to inherit a portion of the spirit as promised by Jesus and fulfilled on Pentecost. “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” That is the reason for the season. It is to remind us that only through great faith and trust in Jesus can we hope for the blessings of eternal life. And make no mistake we are blessed, even if we don’t appreciate it or understand it for that matter. This is the time to leap for joy that our Messiah was born and will return, that we will receive the blessings promised us in faith as Mary was blessed because she “believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” Can we do no less? I want to leave you with this song of praise. Mary’s Song of Praise. In fact, I would like it very much if you would repeat it with me as our final prayer to Jesus. The praise of a mother for her son and Her God.
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”