Going Deeper 12/21/18

The Gospel reading for Advent 4...
Luke 1:39-45   In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.  When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.  And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?  For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy.  And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord." 

The Bible is full of miraculous conceptions, from Abraham and Sarah giving birth to Isaac at a very old age, to barren Hannah bearing Samuel, to Elizabeth bringing John the baptizer into the world, and finally to Mary giving birth to Jesus the Messiah/Christ.  These stories play a very important part in the ongoing narrative of the Scriptures.  God works according to His will, His ways, and His timetable.

Lutherans believe that we all experience a different kind of miraculous birth... in our baptism.  In this sacrament, God works through the water and the Word to birth us into His family, the Church, and He washes away our sins as He showers us with His grace.  And in a sense, the rebirthing miracle becomes part of our everyday life as God continues to work in and through us by His Holy Spirit.

Like Mary and Elizabeth, our response ought to be joy and gratitude.  "Joy to the world" indeed!  Our miraculous conception is no ordinary gift!   God's process of rescuing His children from sin, death, and the devil is ongoing.  This rescue first happens to us, and then it happens through us.  Just as Mary birthed the Savior into the world, so we are blessed to be the channels through whom Jesus continues to come to save the world.

May the Holy Spirit of God help us to more fully understand and appreciate our status as "born again" children who are called and empowered to bear the Christ into the world.

With You in Him,
Mark

   January 2019   
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