Sunday 20 December 2020

I had a quick look thism morning at what we were reading last time this season arrived, and it related to Joseph taking Mary and fleeing authorities. This yea, I am writing more and less. Most of the Sunday texts are prayers and readings.

And we should never forget that Mary rejoiced in the bearing of Christ, and embraced the rumours and shame and stigma. We honour her for her couratge, and we honour Josept ofor his love of her, and for raising Christ.

Lord,
we beseech thee, give ear to our prayers,
and by thy gracious visitation
lighten the darkness of our hearts
by our Lord Jesus Christ;
who liveth and reigneth with thee
and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Almighty God,
Give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness,
and put upon us the armour of light,
now in the time of this mortal life,
in which thy Son Jesus Christ
came to visit us in great humility;
that in the last day,
when he shall come again in his glorious Majesty
to judge both the quick and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who liveth and reigneth with thee
and the Holy Spirit, now and ever.

2 Samuel 7:1-11

7 Now when the king lived in his house and the Lord had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, 2 the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent.” 3 And Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you.”

4 But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, 5 “Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: Would you build me a house to dwell in? 6 I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent for my dwelling. 7 In all places where I have moved with all the people of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’ 8 Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. 9 And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. 10 And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, 11 from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house.

Luke 1:46-55

46 And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring for ever.”

Psalm 89:1-4

A Maskil[a] of Ethan the Ezrahite.
89 I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, for ever;
with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.
2 For I said, “Steadfast love will be built up for ever;
in the heavens you will establish your faithfulness.”
3 You have said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one;
I have sworn to David my servant:
4 ‘I will establish your offspring for ever,
and build your throne for all generations.’” Selah

Luke 1:26-38

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favoured one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

I was talking to some friends who belong to a church we left. They are in a massive legal fight around an old building. The church council wants it gone. It was built in the 1930s, and requires millions of dollars to bring it up to code. The pagans, and some useful idiot sin that church, want it to remain, because tradition.

The minister there who I sat under said that if there was going to be a building committee, he was gone, so the council made it mandatory.

We will worship today elsewhere, in a town hall that the city council has not renovated Yet. And yes, our church is building where it needs to. As a base for evangelism.

But Christ came in a manger, to a family that hat been shunned, who had been forced to travel in winter to participate on a census decreed from Rome. God inhabits the humble.

This year should have ensured that we know our security is not no our credentials or jobs or status or Constitution or nation, but in Christ, and in Christ alone. To him be the glory.