December 13, 2015: Would Jesus come to us today as a boy or girl?

Posted on : Dec 10th, 2015 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

The other day a friend of mine said, “Everything about Advent is so predictable these days.” My reply was, “Well it’s not here at West Hollywood Church!”

The last thing Advent should ever become is predictable. The wonderful thing about Advent is that it is full of ancient prophecies of which none of them came into being as they were supposed to. Sorry prophets. Sorry wisemen / magi / kings. Sorry Mary and Joseph. Sorry world.

One of the most difficult spiritual challenges I’ve had to learn in my life is that though I may have a magnificent plan – the best idea, the best plan, the best everything – I can always count on God to have a different plan in mind. And you know what? It is always better than mine.

That is especially what this third Sunday of Advent is about. God chooses an obscure, unknown, person of no means with no history and turns the world on its head by saying, “You’re the One, Mary! You’re the One to give birth to the long awaited, greatly debated and often prophesied-about Messiah.” And then God sends an angel who says, “BTW Mary, Rejoice, highly favored one! God is with you!”

Talk about God having a different plan for your life than the one you had in mind! Ah, so it is with God.

How much do we really know about Jesus? Right up until the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, religious people and non-religious people were still questioning if Jesus was “the One.” Pilate asks that question before he sentences Jesus to death. “Are you the Messiah, the King of the Jewish people?” And the Centurions (Roman soldiers, non-religious as they were) finally answer that question after Jesus died. “Surely, this was the Child of God!”

From the angel’s announcement to Mary that she is the one to give birth to the Messiah right through Jesus’ death one question remains constant: “Are you really the Child of God?” Few people really knew, really understood, who Jesus was.

The same holds true today. We’ve made this story so predictable that it has lost all its adventure (ADVENTure). It’s lost its mystery, its intrigue, the expectation that God is actually doing something new in our lives and in our world. So what would happen if God challenged our predictability? What if God were to come to us as a girl instead of a boy? How do you think that news might be received? How would that fit in with the predictableness of our great ADVENTure with God?

Join me this Sunday and you just might find that out.

Advent Blessings,

Dan

~ This Sunday’s Scripture ~

Luke 1: 26-31 & 39-56

The angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will bear the child of God – and Mary joyfully celebrates.

Six months later, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a young woman named Mary; she was engaged to a man named Joseph, of the household of David. Upon arriving, the angel said to Mary, “Rejoice, highly favored one! God is with you! Blessed are you among women!”

Mary was deeply troubled by these words and wondered what the angel’s greeting meant. The angel went on to say to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary. You have found favor with God. You’ll conceive and bear a child and give him the name Jesus. His dignity will be great, and he will be called the only begotten of God.

Within a few days Mary set out and hurried to the hill country to a town of Judah, where she entered her uncle Zechariah’s house and greeted her aunt, Elizabeth. As soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.   In a loud voice she exclaimed to Mary, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why am I so favored, that the mother of the Messiah should come to me? The moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who believed that what Our God said to her would be accomplished!”

Mary said,

My soul proclaims your greatness, O God,

     And my spirit rejoices in you, my Savior.

For you have looked with favor

     Upon your lowly servant,

And from this day forward

     All generations will call me blessed.

For you, the Almighty, have done great things for me,

     And holy is your Name.

Your mercy reaches from age to age

     For those who fear you.

You have shown strength with your arm,

     You have scattered the rich in their conceit,

     You have deposed the mighty from their thrones

     And raised the lowly to high places.

You have filled the hungry with good things,

     While you have sent the rich away empty.

You have come to the aid of Israel your servant,

     Mindful of your mercy –

The promise you made to our ancestors –   

     To Sarah and Abraham and their descendants forever.”

Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then returned home.

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