Monday, December 24, 2018

Sermon for 4th Sunday in Advent: "Good Things in Small Packages"

+ 4th Sunday in Advent - December 23rd, 2018 +
Series C: Micah 5:2-5; Hebrews 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-56
Beautiful Savior Lutheran, Milton

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Image result for the visitation of mary

Would you like to super-size that? Would you like to upgrade to first class? Would you like to open a credit card with us today and save an extra 20%? 

Seems like everywhere we go, from McDonalds to the movie theater, whether we’re booking airline tickets or buying a car, we’re told: “Why settle for less, when you can have more? Bigger is better. More is merrier.”

No wonder there’s so much confusion this time of the year about what Christmas really means. The world looks for a Clark Griswold Christmas with light displays visible from space, while the prophet Micah proclaims…

From you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
   who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
   one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
   from ancient days.

While the world tries to sell us a bigger, better, and merrier Christmas, today we hear a far different, yet far more glorious, comforting message in Mary’s song, the Magnificat. 

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.

Mary’s song is a song of the great reversal Jesus brings us in his birth, life, and death for us. In Jesus the humble are exalted. The hungry are fed. The broken are healed. The weak are strong. The dead are raised. Sinners are forgiven. 

This 4th Sunday in Advent is a blessed reminder that God is the God of the small things…
Of Bethlehem. Of little children, such as our own, who in Jesus’ own words, are a picture of the kingdom of God, and have sung beautifully this morning of the King who comes to save us. Of the unnoticed, the forgotten, lowly, lonely, and least ones. 

It’s certainly true that God is all-powerful, all-knowing, almighty. Yet the joy and mystery of his Advent among us is that this all-powerful God becomes a helpless baby for us. The God of infinite cosmic power resides in the itty bitty living space of Mary’s womb, and a manger for us. The almighty God becomes weak and small for us. Conceived by the Holy Spirit. Born of the Virgin Mary. And crucified for us under Pontius Pilate. And in Jesus’ cross, we who are weighed down by sin are lifted up. We who were dead in trespasses are made alive again in Christ. We who were lost and lowly are found and exalted in Jesus crucified. 

There’s a deep spiritual truth hidden in that old adage: good things come in small packages. God in human cells and tissue and DNA, formed and knit in Mary’s womb. The God who experienced the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd trimester from the inside of his creation for us. God is the God of the small, the least, the lost, and the lowly. 

As the author J.R.R. Tolkien once wrote, the wheels of the world’, are often turned not by the Lords and Governors...but by the seemingly unknown and weak. By the small things...

A child in the womb of an unwed teenage mother.
The Lord of heaven and earth resting in a crib of hay in a small, backwater town of Judea.
Three nails.
Simple bread and wine where Jesus is present for you.

The child in Mary’s womb is proof that God has not forgotten or abandoned you. You are not alone or unnoticed. You are not small. In Jesus’ smallness, in his birth and death, you are loved. Redeemed. Rescued. And raised up. 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. 

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