Fourth Sunday of Advent – Luke 1:39-55
“[God] has helped his servant Israel and remembered to be merciful. For he made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his children forever.” (Luke 1:54-55, NLT)
The Song of Mary reminds us of something we often forget: that the story of Christ’s coming does not exist in a vacuum. It never has. It is a story born out of centuries of God’s faithfulness to Israel, a story that grows from the experience of God’s chosen people through times of joy and sadness, exultation and humiliation, wonderment and terror. Christ was born because of God’s promises to Abraham and his children. Christ continues to be present to us because of God’s promises to the disciples of Jesus. We trust that Christ will come again because God has faithfully kept the promises of the past. We are often quick to separate Jesus and his story from its roots. Yet without those roots, the righteous branch born of Mary would never have sprouted. As we prepare to celebrate once again, let us never forget the depth of God’s faithfulness and love for Israel and for us, because that depth is part of what makes this good news so good.
Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come. With your abundant grace and might, free us from the sin that binds us, that we may receive you in joy and serve you always, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (From Evangelical Lutheran Worship, p. 20)
– Pr. Andrew Chavanak, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church (ELCA), Falls City