Homily for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
Micah 5:1-4a
Hebrews 10:5-10
Luke 1:39-45
December 23, 2012

A tale of two women.

Today’s gospel speaks of two women.  I should say two very important women.  They are important because of the role they play in God’s play.

Certainly, we are aware of Mary’s place in God’s Plan with her yes to God’s message delivered by the angel Gabriel.  We honor Mary here in our church with our tapestry behind me, our shrine on your right side, and pictures.  Mary is a crucial part of God’s plan, so special a place that God saw that she was immaculately conceived to be worthy.

Elizabeth is also important as one, who like Mary, did not doubt God’s will and trusted in him.  She became the mother of John the Baptist who calls out, Prepare the Way of the Lord and proclaimed a baptism for the forgiveness of sins.      God wanted it to be clear that what came through Mary and Elizabeth was his will.  To do so, he picked two women for whom pregnancy would seem impossible, Mary, the young virgin, and Elizabeth who was elderly and never had children.  Pregnancies that would be possible only by God’s Grace.

And they trusted in that grace.

From the simple comes the great.  Micah speaks of how from Bethlehem-Ephrathah who is too small to matter among the clans of Judah will come the new ruler.

We might think we are too insignificant to do anything great.  While it might seem true that we can’t do anything “great” on our own, we can do great things through God’s Grace.

We just need to trust in God’s Will according to Mary’s example.

Because of their trust amazing things happened.  Jesus comes into the world as the newborn king of the Jews.  He comes as our savior and redeemer.

We celebrate this great event as Christmas.  It truly is a very holy time of year.  But it isn’t here quite year.  Final preparations are still to be made.  I hope your shopping is done but I imagine you have cooking to do yet and maybe some decorating.  This afternoon we will decorate our church to transform it for the beauty of Christmas.      As we make all these final preparations, it is the true beauty of Christmas that we must remember.  Christmas is not about the presents, decorating, and parties.

It’s about Jesus.  Everything else is to point to Jesus.

Jesus, the Son of God born as a tiny little baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger.      A small little new life from which comes great things.

New life is a sign of new hope, a new beginning.  Think of how much people like to see and hold a little baby.

Advent is a season of preparation, waiting, and joy.  We might wonder if we are ready.  By ourselves we are never truly ready but we become like Mary saying yes to God, Jesus makes us ready and amazing things happen.

What did Elizabeth say to Mary?  Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.

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