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Hear the


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									                                           Hear the Word
                                            from Pastor James N. McEachran

Second Sunday of Advent
December 5, 2010

Do You Hear What I Hear?
Luke 1:26-38
Week two of Advent, “coming” once again, the gift of time; luxury of God given space to prepare for the
celebration of the birth of Jesus. Advent is time to “wait.” Counter-culture it is, but we are called to claim our
season to wait the coming of the Lord.
Recall that between 58 and 65 A.D, Luke wrote the story of Jesus; giving words to the oral tradition about the
events that occurred in the lives of Zechariah and Elizabeth, Joseph and Mary. Wondrously, Luke wraps their
lives around this single truth…God cared enough to send the very best…the Savior of the world.
Imagine four snapshots… Last week, #1: Zechariah and Elizabeth…both of priestly lines and Zechariah,
serving at Temple, hears the message of Gabriel…the good news that Elizabeth will conceive and bear a son to
be named, John, who will be “great in the sight of the Lord” and “filled with the Holy Spirit.”
God acts quickly; she does conceive, remained in seclusion for five months. Deaf priest cannot speak the words
of blessing; the crowd gets that he has seen a vision…he went home. Elizabeth is pregnant, secluded for five
months, waiting, preparing as she said, “This is what the Lord has done for me when he looked on me with
favor and took away my disgrace.”
Snapshot #2. Same angel, very young woman, Mary, engaged to Joseph of Nazareth in Galilee. Good news…
“Mary, favored one, The Lord is with you.” First response might have been “oh, oh.” As Zechariah had been
terrified and overwhelmed by fear, she was perplexed.
The message is clear: “Mary, fear not, you are favored by God and will conceive, bear a son, and you will name
him ‘Jesus.’” As the words unfold, she will hear, we hear, what she heard: “great, Son of the Most High God,
the Lord God has a throne for him like that of David…His reign will be forever over the house of Jacob forever.
No end to his kingdom.”
Recall that she may have been 14 years old. Anyone here 14 years old? There is perspective! And she has a
pretty reasonable question: “How can this be, I am a virgin?”
“Holy Spirit.” Uh-huh! More words to hear: “Most High will overshadow you, holy child, Son of God.” And,
then, what may have been the most comforting words of all…she will not be ALONE… “Elizabeth, the barren
one, your cousin, in her six month, has also conceived a son. NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD.”
Listen to Mary: “I am here, servant of the Lord, let it be to be in accordance with your word.” She heard, she
trusted, she believed that the words spoken were meant for her, for you, for me.
Family stories are significant. Do you have family stories about relatives, about you? There are dozen of Little

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Jimmie Stories…my kids often roll their eyes when I launch into a story of their earliest years, their beginnings
in life.
Wonder what Mary said when Jesus asked, “Mom, where did I come from?” Think she might have said, “Ask
Elizabeth” or “Can you just go play with your cousin John?!”
In these Sundays of Advent, we are hearing the Jesus’ Family Stories. They mean to be the rest of the story
of the one we call Savior and Lord. As if to remind us that God’s plan is that, like Elizabeth and Mary, we are
never called to walk alone for we are those who belong to Emmanuel, God with us.
There are those who would call Mary the first disciple of Jesus. Having heard words from God, the Lord of
all, she placed her confident trust in those words. Never a question, even when doubt and anxiety may have
prevailed. For she would have to speak with Joseph who may have said, “What?”
Last week, I challenged you with the question, “What are you waiting for this Advent?” It is not a “gift list”
kind of question, it is a life changing question about your/our faithful walk as we share the light of the Lord.
There are signs all around…our Love Tree, but most importantly how we live with one another and those we
share life with in the world. How do we treat one another, the stranger? How do we speak and respond to those
who are afraid, anxious, hungry, mourning, hurting and have not heard about the One whose life we share?
Zechariah and Joseph received; Elizabeth and Mary waited. Dare we also believe that with God all things, ALL
THINGS, are possible? Dare we speak faithful words, Here I am Lord! Let it be for me that your will is done
in my life, our lives, today and forever.
Isaiah promised a reign of peace; listen to Paul, do you hear what I hear?
Have hope! God is to be trusted to bring harmony that you might live peacefully, contented as you “Welcome
one another as Christ has welcomed you.” Here is the gift of Advent---to receive and to treat others as if we
were receiving the Lord Jesus Christ. For when I greet you, when I meet the stranger, it is Christ I receive and
welcome. Our plan in this new week of grace, Advent 2---listen…to be hope-filled, joyfully peace-filled, that
we might abound in thanksgiving, living. Ready, to receive again the Word, Jesus Christ who longs to be heard
and live through us in the world. Amen.

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