Advent, a season of hopeful expectation and anticipation, is drawing to an end.
The darkest night is approaching, but this means so is the returning light.
We have lit the candles of Hope, Peace, Joy, and now Love.
The brokenness and darkness of our hearts, our homes, our communities, nations, and the entire creation thrives in the fear and hatred seeking to dispel the light of Love. This fear fuels a hatred that dehumanizes and demonizes individuals and communities justifying a lack of compassion for the “other”. This dehumanizing and demonizing enable polarizing extremes that divide and sort persons based upon race, ethnicity, and nationality; biological sex, gender identity, and sexuality; socio-economics; political affiliations; religious adherence or lack thereof; and beyond.
Unfortunately, this brokenness and darkness in heart, home, community, nation, and creation begun with the ‘Fall’ of humanity. It continues in our time and place, for the Kingdom of God has come here, it is near, and it is not yet fulfilled.
However, the light of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love has come, it is here, and it is returning again.
This morning, we encounter Mary being visited by the archangel Gabriel.
Gabriel is THE massager. If a divine message must be delivered come hell or high-water, Gabriel is your angel.
Gabriel is informing Mary that she will birth, nurture, and love God in human flesh and bone.
Gabriel is informing Mary that she will birth divine Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love into being.
Gabriel is informing Mary that she will essentially destroy the curse of the ‘Fall’ of humanity.
Mary is understandably perplexed.
Mary is engaged, but not yet married, to Joseph.
Mary is still a virgin.
Mary is understandably terrified, in addition to Gabriel standing before her.
Mary was approximately only twelve to fourteen years old.
Mary was an Israelite, who were oppressed persons in a Roman occupied land.
Mary will become pregnant while unwed in first-century Palestine.
Mary will have Joseph and the community question her claim of a divine pregnancy.
And Mary will experience the anxieties of motherhood, additionally the motherhood of God Incarnate.
Mary is able to respond ‘I am the servant of my Lord; let it be with me according to your word’.
Mary will travel to visit her significantly older cousin, Elizabeth, perhaps when her condition becomes increasingly noticeable similar to unwed pregnant girls of past generations. Elizabeth is miraculously pregnant with the prophet who will prepare the way for the Lord, also known as John the Baptist.
John (the Baptist) leapt in Elizabeth’s womb at the presence of the unborn Christ child. This caused Elizabeth to call Mary ‘blessed’ for being selected to birth God Incarnate.
THIS is when Mary sings The Magnificat, which was our ‘Psalm’.
Mary sings the praise of God.
Mary sings in thanksgiving for her active participation in God’s Will and Kingdom to Come.
Mary sings about mercy, grace, and justice.
Mary sings about the Grand Leveling or Grand Reversal.
Mary essentially sings of the Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love that destroys the curse of the fallen humanity
Although Mary perhaps continued to be perplexed and terrified, she was empowered to accept this tremendous responsibility. Thus, she birthed the divine Light of Love that dispels the human created boundaries that divide and sort persons based upon their race, ethnicity, and nationality; biological sex, gender identity, and sexuality; socio-economics; political affiliations; religious adherence or lack thereof; and beyond. She birthed the divine Light of Love that dispels the dehumanizing and demonizing of the “other”. She birthed the divine Light of Love that dispels all darkness and heals all our brokenness in heart, soul, home, community, nation, and creation.
Blessed is Elizabeth for recognizing Mary as pregnant with the Christ Child.
Blessed is Mary for birthing, nurturing, and loving the Christ child.
Blessed is Mary for birthing the Divine Light of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love into our world.
Blessed is God for allowing us to encounter this story of our fore-mothers in faith.
May the Divine Light of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love continue to shine upon us,
our homes, our communities, our nation, and the entire creation
until all darkness is dispelled, all brokenness is healed,
and the Kingdom of God is finally fulfilled.
Scripture was Luke 1: 26-38, 46b-55.
Originally preached 20 December 2020 for Trinity Lutheran Church (Union City, IN).