December 20, 2020: 4th Sunday of Advent

Let us pray: Dear Savior, teach us anew the importance of: “trusting in the Lord and leaning not on our own understanding” in all things. Remind us, just as the angel reminded Mary, that “nothing is impossible with God.” For then our fears will be replaced with confidence. Amen


TEXT: Luke 1: 26-38

Dearly Beloved By Christ:

It was a week before Christmas. About a dozen church members had tickets to a winter concert down in Boston at the Tremont Temple. We were all on edge due to a big, impending, sure-fire snowstorm. Maybe it would hold off a bit til just afterwards, so we went. Good Lutherans never want to cancel out because we want our money’s worth, you know!

One member had a very large van into which she packed everyone—leaving cars in our parking lot. We all were a bit excited, festive, and slightly fearful, too, over what we would find when the concert ended. But, lo and behold when we walked out, no snow. On the drive up from Boston, no snow. The next day, no snow. God heard the prayers of his people for safety and proved the weathermen wrong! When I think of those words to Mary from Gabriel: “Nothing is impossible with God.”—that little story comes to mind. BTW, the weather people could never explain why that big storm totally missed us, but I know why….


Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth is 6 months pregnant. God now sends His angel, Gabriel, to visit Mary in Nazareth. Mary is pledged to Joseph, but unlike most young people today in similar circumstances, they both obeyed the 6th commandment. They were not sexually active. Mary was a virgin. When Gabriel appeared, the first words from his mouth were: “Greetings, you who are highly favored, the Lord is with you!” This isn’t a wish, it is a fact. She was highly favored by God and the Lord was with her—in heart, soul, mind, spirit, and very soon physically in her flesh as the Lord conceived Jesus within her womb.

Mary ponders what this is all about. She knew it was an angel. She knew God’s angels don’t lie. Fear begins to grip her soul. Gabriel immediately seeks to dispel that fear: “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most

High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, his kingdom will never end.”


Mary was a pious Christian. She knew what all this meant. She knew she would be the mother of the promised Messiah. In that instant her entire world was turned upside down. Mary was also a practical woman. She knew she was a virgin and no baby was ever born without sex. She had had none. So her natural question now dealt with: how? Again, Gabriel answers, and mind you, angels know much more about the unseen aspects of life than we do. Literally, they have seen it all! So he tells her: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” Then he reminds her that her aged cousin, Elizabeth, is now also 6 months pregnant with the future John the Baptist. It’s like Gabriel is saying: “See, God can do the seemingly improbable.” And then he caps it with: “Nothing is impossible with God.”

I love that passage! I recall it all the time. It’s the ultimate antidote to fear because it is the Gospel. It is God’s almighty providence juiced up and under the control of His love, or grace. We all confess that God can do anything. That God is all-powerful. That God loves us dearly. But doubt and uncertainty always seem to linger within our subconscious and taunt us with dark thoughts. I recall thinking on that van ride into Boston: “If we wipe out in the coming storm, half the church would be gone!” Why do we think the worst? Obviously we should never tempt God. But how often do we dwell on the worst-cast scenario instead of living in the confidence of the best-case scenario? Yes, we all forget: “Nothing is impossible with God.” So pray and leave everything in His capable hands!


In essence, that’s what Mary did here. Notice her words of humble faith: “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said.’ Then the angel left her.” He left her visually. But, no doubt, God kept Gabriel on watchful standby. For God knew of Satan’s evil intent to destroy the Christ-Child. And so God protected her over the next 9 months and beyond—just like He protects you and me. But, I’m sure someone will say: “But I’m not as important to God’s plans as Mary.” Are you certain about that? Do you know the future? Do you know exactly how God plans on using you to impact souls and make an eternal difference?” One thing I do know about each of you: Each of you is a baptized child of God. Each of you

has been saved by Christ’s blood. Each of you is a new creation of God via faith. Each of you is dearly also beloved by the Most High. And no matter how Satan and his minions try to hurt, harm, or destroy us, we should never fear anything! For Nothing is impossible with God. Amen

THE peace of God….

Pastor Thomas H. Fox

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