2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16

Psalm 89:1-4, 14-18

Romans 16:25-27

Luke 1:26-38

 

“Mary did you know?”

 

Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen.

 

Last we spoke, sang, and even heard a sermon about the Magnificat that Mary sang in Luke. Now I made a slight goof in that sermon, in that I said that her Magnificat was in response to what we just read in today’s Gospel. In reality, the Magnificat was in response to Elizabeth who, through the Holy Spirit, blessed Mary as the “Mother of my Lord.” This happened right after Gabriel spoke to Mary and is the point in scripture when John the Baptist leapt in his womb upon meeting Jesus who was in His womb.

 

So why give this correction? Well first, it is to get the record straight, but second, it is to point out that Mary’s Magnificat was not just a mere response to Gabriel. She has been mulling over the words preached to her by this angel, and finally, after hearing Elizabeth’s proclamation, the joy and knowledge Mary had started gushing out. She didn’t just hear Gabriel, she listened and understood him. And what did he tell her? Quite plainly, that she was to bear the Son of God through a virgin birth, which, as a Jew, she knew was in reference to the prophecies found in Isaiah.

 

There is a most beautiful song that is sung during the time of Christmas, a fairly recent song, that can be interpreted as either rhetorical or extremely condescending, “Mary did you Know.” I hear it on the radio and sometimes in Churches and the chords and words of the song are, equally, so powerful. But what are the lyrics?

 

[Sing verse 1 of “Mary did you know”]

 

That is a piece, but other questions asked include: did you know that he will cure the blind, the deaf, the lame; that he will calm the storm; that he is God; that he is the Lord of all creation; that he will rule the nations; that he is heaven’s perfect Lamb?

 

What if I was to tell you that, except the particular miracles, she knew all of this? Mary heard the words of Gabriel, and she knew the prophecies, and she professed her knowledge through the Magnificat. She knew that Jesus will perform miracles, that He is our Savior, that with him comes newness of life, that He will deliver her, that He was God and the Great I am, that He will rule all, that He is the Lamb. She knew all of this. Which is why I ask, as you sing the powerful song, “Mary did you know,” that you ask yourself, is this a condescending biblically illiterate song that paints Mary as a young clueless person or is this a song full of rhetorical questions designed to compel you to proclaim, to shout on the highest mountains, “of course she knew,” and then lead us to the Bible to confirm the knowledge and wisdom she did possess.

 

Now we won’t be singing “Mary did you know” through the chimes, but we will be playing the chimes. So once again, I ask for volunteers to help distribute one silver chime to each person, please start with the chimes with the stickers on the front. And if there are any left overs you may distribute the rest of the silver chimes. Those who were here last week noticed the new color coded stickers I applied to each chime. I ask that as the chimes are being passed around that you take note of the colors.

 

As a reminder, I would like to demonstrate how to use chimes. Now your turn, first all orange chimes. Now all red chimes. Now all blue chimes. One more time for each. Very Good.

 

There are many stories of angels coming to proclaim things throughout the Bible, some sing halleluiahs, others preach good news, all come in such a shocking manner. So let us sing of the angels who came to us through “It came upon the midnight clear.”

 

After receiving the good news many traveled, the amazing birth was coming, the amazing heavenly peace was coming, for whereas the days may dark and filled with concern and worry, through Christ our nights are calm, bright, and silent. Let us sing, in remembrance of this calm, “Silent Night.”

 

And on that fateful day, many travelled to Bethlehem to see the Christ child, this king, and when they came, they found him not in some extravagant cradle, but in a lowly manger. Let us sing, “Away in a Manger.”

 

Christmas is just around the corner, but it is not quite here, so in preparation for the coming birth let us finish by wishing each other a Merry Christmas, by singing “We wish you a Merry Christmas.”

 

I ask that you please leave your chimes in the pews, and after service I will collect and wipe down all our chimes.

 

Let us pray,

 

Dear Heavenly Father, we lift our voice in praise as we magnify your Holy Name, for you have blessed us with many proclamations and prophecies. You forget not your lowly servants but send to us angels to let us know that the King is coming. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Isaiah 61:1-3, 10-11

Luke 1:46b-55

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

John 1:6-8, 19-28

 

“The Magnificat”

 

Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen.

 

Today is a day of rejoice, a day of mirth, a day of praise, a day to magnify the Lord. Whereas Advent is a time of preparation and expectations when we anticipate the coming of our Lord, today we rejoice amidst our preparations for God is indeed coming, and is here.

 

Our rejoicing is liken to that of Mary’s who upon hearing the good news from Gabriel that she was to be the mother of God, sang what is now known as the Magnificat. We spoke it in lieu of the Psalms today, and after this sermon we will sing it as one of our Hymns.

 

Now, when Mary lifted her voice in song, proclaiming her joy she said many things to include, “My Soul Magnifies” and “spirit rejoices” in the Lord. She also said she has been blesses by the Lord, that he has done great things for her. She is overflowing with joy! She is rejoicing!

 

Of course some may call her haughty because she did say that “from now on all generations will call me blessed”, but here is the thing she was indeed blessed, and she isn’t wrong, all generations from there on out have indeed called her blessed. Now we don’t called her blessed for anything she has done. She is a sinner, like all other humans born of natural birth, therefore there is nothing particularly special about her that merit her being the mother of God, yet God still blessed her. And the very fact that she not only birthed but raised Jesus, how could not acknowledge that she was truly blessed? God the Father gave her an amazing gift, she was to bear the Savior of the World. Now what type of mother or father would not want to brag about that? I do not know of a loving parent who doesn’t brag something about their children. Some dads may gather and try to one up each other, all in good faith, to the aghast of their wives. And some mothers would love to gush, alongside other mothers, over their kids and proclaim how blessed they are. Now imagine if you knew that your child was to be the Savior of the World? Of course you will rejoice.

 

Now we may not be like Mary, who was blessed to be the mother of God, but we are like her in that through Christ we do have a relationship with him. For through Christ we have been adopted as also sons and daughters of God, therefore, through Christ, we are all brothers and sisters of Jesus. And what better way to rejoice in such an amazing blessing than, just like Mary, through song?

 

So once again, I ask for volunteers to help distribute one silver chime to each person, please start with the chimes with the stickers on the front. And if there are any left overs you may distribute the rest of the silver chimes. Those who were here last week noticed the new color coded stickers I applied to each chime. I ask that as the chimes are being passed around that you take note of the colors.

As a reminder, I would like to demonstrate how to use chimes. Now your turn, first all orange chimes. Now all red chimes. Now all blue chimes. One more time for each. Very Good.

 

We begin our hymns of rejoicing, providing our own Magnificat, with an image of angels singing over the plains “Gloria in Excelsis Deo”, let us sing, “Angels We have heard on High”.

 

After the angels proclaimed their praise, much to the astonishment of wise men, shepherds, Mary and Joseph, many of the angels proclaimed the coming birth of Jesus and provided all an invitation. All ye who are faithful, come to Bethlehem, so you too may behold the King. So let us sing, “O Come, All ye Faithful”.

 

And after the invitation many left to see this new born king, many left to behold this child born in Bethlehem. So let us sing, “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem”.

 

There is much to rejoice, and as we rejoice, let us finish by wishing each other a Merry Christmas, by singing “We wish you a Merry Christmas”.

 

I ask that you please leave your chimes in the pews, and after service I will collect and wipe down all our chimes.

 

Let us pray,

 

Dear Heavenly Father, we lift our voice in praise as we magnify your Holy Name, for you have blessed us through your promise and, through keeping your promise, you have delivered to us a child, a king. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Isaiah 40:1-11

Psalm 85

2 Peter 3:8-14

Mark 1:1-8

 

“He Comes”

 

Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen.

 

I grew up watching Full House, and in that TV series I’ve come to love the character that Bob Saget plays as, the father figure, Danny Tanner. What I remember most about him is his cleaning practices. He would organize the whole household, much like a sergeant with a squad, in an intensive endeavor to conquer every piece of dust that may or may not catch his eye. He was basically your comedic clean freak. But I liked him because he reminded me of my own household that I grew up in. Unlike Danny Tanner of Full House, my mom was not that much a clean freak, but like him she did organize the family in an endeavor to conquer the dust of the house every week. And whereas she wasn’t as bad as Danny, my mom was very good at finding the not as clean spots in the house and demand that such area be recleaned once again. When it came to cleaning, she ruled the house with an iron… broom. So we made sure the house was always clean and thus always prepared. But, if guests were expected at the house, like clockwork, the household was galvanized into recleaning the house, even if we already cleaned it the day prior, just to make sure it is prepared.

 

We are told through scripture to always be prepared, to stay awake, and to always be on guard for you know not when the Lord will come. But today, we read about preparation in a new light; for the signs of the virgin birth, with angels and the star, have been revealed. In the past, the Israelites prepared because they know not when the Lord will come, but here the dark night has turned blue and the signs of the rising sun are evident, thus now the Israelites are preparing the royal highway.

 

It is like having the red carpet on standby. You know not when the celebrities will come, so you have the red carpet stored and ready. You don’t just unfurl it and leave it on the ground at all times. But the moment you hear that a celebrity comes, you go to the back room where the red carpet is stationed and unfurl it at the entrance.

 

The King is coming, He comes! And because we did not fall asleep, we are ready and prepared to begin setting the highway and making clear the path for the coming king. And what better way to prepare for the coming birth than to set up Christmas decorations? We have Christmas trees, lights, garland, poinsettias, and more. And today, as we play with the chimes once again we will be singing carols that reflect this week of preparation.

 

So once again, I ask for volunteers to help distribute one silver chime to each person, please start with the chimes with the stickers on the front. And if there are any left overs you may distribute the rest of the silver chimes. As for all of you, you may notice color dots have been stickered to your chimes. I figured it was hard to see my tiny fingers, so I prepared color coded stickers and paddles to help assist. So let’s test this out. But first, this is how you use chimes… All orange chimes! Now All red chimes! Now all blue chimes. Very good.

 

The first of our carols is a hymn of rejoice for though we have waited long Emmanuel comes, so let us sing, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”

 

Yes Emmanuel is coming, and because of this we prepare our houses and our communities and this church for His coming, to include putting up Christmas Trees. Fun fact about Christmas Trees, it is a very Lutheran Christmas practice for it was Martin Luther himself who started the practice of putting lights in pine trees for the season of Advent and Christmas. Speaking of Luther, do you know that he is also the one who created the Advent Wreath? But speaking of Christmas Trees and lights, well back then they didn’t have electricity so their lights were in the form of candles. Now imagine the look on Luther’s wife’s face, Katherine, when she saw Luther putting lit candles in a pine tree… Well, let us celebrate by singing, “O Christmas Tree.”

 

And while we are still jolly and gay, let us continue our singing about decorations and decking the Halls by singing, “Deck the Halls.”

 

Yes there is much to celebrate, for Jesus is coming, and know this to be true so we celebrate by preparing the royal highway and decorating. Now the birth has yet to happen, but it is coming very close, thus it would be amiss of us not to conclude by preemptively wishing each and every one of you a Merry Christmas. So let us conclude by singing, “We Wish you a Merry Christmas.”

 

I ask that you please leave your chimes in the pews, and after service I will collect and wipe down all our chimes.

 

Let us pray,

 

Dear Heavenly Father, Christmas is coming and rejoice for the coming Lord, thus we make our final preparations. As we deck the halls and put up Christmas Trees we ask that let us never forget the true purpose of Christmas, and that is the Birth of our Lord. In Your most holy name we pray, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Isaiah 61:1-3, 10-11

Luke 1:46b-55

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

John 1:6-8, 19-28

 

“The Magnificat”

 

Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen.

 

Today is a day of rejoice, a day of mirth, a day of praise, a day to magnify the Lord. Whereas Advent is a time of preparation and expectations when we anticipate the coming of our Lord, today we rejoice amidst our preparations for God is indeed coming, and is here.

 

Our rejoicing is liken to that of Mary’s who upon hearing the good news from Gabriel that she was to be the mother of God, sang what is now known as the Magnificat. We spoke it in lieu of the Psalms today, and after this sermon we will sing it as one of our Hymns.

 

Now, when Mary lifted her voice in song, proclaiming her joy she said many things to include, “My Soul Magnifies” and “spirit rejoices” in the Lord. She also said she has been blesses by the Lord, that he has done great things for her. She is overflowing with joy! She is rejoicing!

 

Of course some may call her haughty because she did say that “from now on all generations will call me blessed”, but here is the thing she was indeed blessed, and she isn’t wrong, all generations from there on out have indeed called her blessed. Now we don’t called her blessed for anything she has done. She is a sinner, like all other humans born of natural birth, therefore there is nothing particularly special about her that merit her being the mother of God, yet God still blessed her. And the very fact that she not only birthed but raised Jesus, how could not acknowledge that she was truly blessed? God the Father gave her an amazing gift, she was to bear the Savior of the World. Now what type of mother or father would not want to brag about that? I do not know of a loving parent who doesn’t brag something about their children. Some dads may gather and try to one up each other, all in good faith, to the aghast of their wives. And some mothers would love to gush, alongside other mothers, over their kids and proclaim how blessed they are. Now imagine if you knew that your child was to be the Savior of the World? Of course you will rejoice.

 

Now we may not be like Mary, who was blessed to be the mother of God, but we are like her in that through Christ we do have a relationship with him. For through Christ we have been adopted as also sons and daughters of God, therefore, through Christ, we are all brothers and sisters of Jesus. And what better way to rejoice in such an amazing blessing than, just like Mary, through song?

 

So once again, I ask for volunteers to help distribute one silver chime to each person, please start with the chimes with the stickers on the front. And if there are any left overs you may distribute the rest of the silver chimes. Those who were here last week noticed the new color coded stickers I applied to each chime. I ask that as the chimes are being passed around that you take note of the colors.

As a reminder, I would like to demonstrate how to use chimes. Now your turn, first all orange chimes. Now all red chimes. Now all blue chimes. One more time for each. Very Good.

 

We begin our hymns of rejoicing, providing our own Magnificat, with an image of angels singing over the plains “Gloria in Excelsis Deo”, let us sing, “Angels We have heard on High”.

 

After the angels proclaimed their praise, much to the astonishment of wise men, shepherds, Mary and Joseph, many of the angels proclaimed the coming birth of Jesus and provided all an invitation. All ye who are faithful, come to Bethlehem, so you too may behold the King. So let us sing, “O Come, All ye Faithful”.

 

And after the invitation many left to see this new born king, many left to behold this child born in Bethlehem. So let us sing, “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem”.

 

There is much to rejoice, and as we rejoice, let us finish by wishing each other a Merry Christmas, by singing “We wish you a Merry Christmas”.

 

I ask that you please leave your chimes in the pews, and after service I will collect and wipe down all our chimes.

 

Let us pray,

 

Dear Heavenly Father, we lift our voice in praise as we magnify your Holy Name, for you have blessed us through your promise and, through keeping your promise, you have delivered to us a child, a king. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Isaiah 63:16b-17; 64:1-8 

Psalm 80:1-7 

1 Corinthians 1:3-9 

Mark 13:33-37 

“Stay Awake” 

Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen. 

With a raise of hands, how many of you are Soldiers or  Veterans? Thank you for your service. Now keep your hand up if  you’ve had to conduct night guard. You may put your hands  down. It’s boring isn’t it? You weren’t kept awake because of  something that was indeed happening. You were awake because  of the potential of something happening. Now as night guards, I  can assume you weren’t night shift people who only worked  during the night, but your typical soldier who works throughout the  day, was slotted that night to be on guard only to work the  following day without any sleep. There is a potential, but you don’t  know if anything would happen that night. In fact, the night might  be so boring that would wish something entertaining would  happen that would help keep you awake but not hinder your duty.  Anything, maybe even a firefight again ambushing enemies, or a  visible casual stroller who is acting suspicious, or the dropping of  bombs. Anything to counter the dull wait. And as you wait, your  eyes starts to get droopy and every other minute you startle  awake. The struggle of staying awake during what may seem an  uneventful night is real. 

I don’t know anyone who likes to be put on night watch,  anyone who works also during the day that is. I certainly don’t like  it, but it   is necessary. Why? Because you never know what

might happen. Thus who cares if you don’t like it, the absolute necessity  outweighs the lack of convenience. Thus stay awake, be on  guard. 

During the time of the Israel Kings, the Babylonian Captivity,  and the post captivity, when Jerusalem was rebuilt, Israel was at  an indefinite stage of wake. They had faith in the promises God  provided for them, the coming mighty King. Some, most, did not  understand how this king would appear, but they had hope that he  would. They knew not when, nor how, nor where per se. But to those who opened Scripture, and were blessed with the Holy  Spirit, had their eyes opened to the reality that Christ was coming  and that Christ is here. But even during the days when Jesus  walked the earth, many were blinded to the truth and could not  fathom Jesus had arrived. They were in slumber. 

In the past, Israel waited and suffered long for the coming  king. They knew he would come, thus they were ever expecting  and anticipating his arrival. They were awake. But out of  misinterpretation and lackadaisicalness, eventually many in Israel  fell asleep. 

The Lord Comes, stay awake for you do not know when he  will come, stay on guard! Not everyone can stay on guard. It is  like sitting up in a watch tower through the middle of the night,  and the moment before the sky shifts from black to blue you fall  asleep and miss the coming Sun. So too, the coming Son of Man  caught many off guard for before the sky shifted colors towards  the darker shades of blue too many had already fallen asleep.

 

But to those who did stay awake, they saw the shifting blue  hues in the sky, the advent of a new day approach, the coming of  the rising son, the coming of the Son of Man, Son of God. Angels  preached and sang and gave warnings. Wise men had  revelations and marched across countries to see the birthed king.  A star was place above Bethlehem. Those who awaited long,  finally witnessed proof that the Lord was coming, for they never  fell asleep, they were on guard, expecting, anticipating, and their  patience was finally answered. No need to wait, the Lord is  coming. 

Now for us today, Christmas is coming but is not quite here  yet. So least we fall asleep and forget Christmas, missing the Day  of our Lord’s birth, let’s do that which will definitely keep us  awake. But first, let’s be honest, we the culture we currently live  in, with Christmas music blaring right after All Saints Day, even  though Christmas hasn’t even arrived yet, is it even possible to  miss it? It’s more likely you will fall asleep during my sermons  than miss Christmas. So what do I have prepared? Chimes! Every  Advent Sunday I thought it would be a good idea for us to play  some advent and Christmas music together using some noisy  chimes. At least this way you won’t fall asleep during the end of  my sermons… [hand out chimes, 1 or 2 to each, play several  carols]. 

Let us pray, 

Dear Heavenly Father, Christmas is coming and we wait with  much anticipation all of the glory and joy that comes with the  celebration of the Birth of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Help us to stay on guard and to keep awake, so that when your glory is  revealed we do not miss it but see it in all its grandeur. In your  most holy name we pray, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen

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