Lectionary Year B
December 19, 1999
Fourth Sunday in Advent
(JFC) A. DESCRIPTION OF AUDIENCE
The congregation hearing this sermon is a small membership Presbyterian Church in
small town 15 miles outside the small State Capital of Kentucky. I served them as part time Interim from April 1997 to April 1999. They are very nice folks with a new Designated Pastor leading them into Redevelopment. They have a tradition of being a little anxious, regarding their mission and ministry that will enable them to survive and become a viable congregation with a vital mission and vibrant ministry. They are naturally a little nervously insecure, regarding how to change the emphases in their work as a congregation who want to serve their God in the world more than remain merely a church on a corner of a town that does little if anything. They have the desire to make a go of it, they just need some focus on the God who leads, supports and sustains them as the redevelop.
(JFC) INTENDED GOALS
We can hope to comfort the distressed and distress the comfortable on the Sunday
before Christmas. This part of God’s Word might refocus affluent mainline Americans on the God of the Bible as One who transforms unrighteous and unjust situations in this life. It can describe how and why God intends to make things more in accordance to the divine will as revealed throughout Scripture.
(JFC) C. ADDRESS
“The God of This Christmas”
God came to earth in Jesus. God deemed it timely and essential to do so.
I. God Loves The Lowly
Will Rogers’, “God must love the poor, having made so many of us”. Micah’s
designation of Bethlehem one of the least significant clans in ancient Judah. Today’s Gospel lesson depicts God’s selecting a domestic, an unwed adolescent to bear the only begotten son of God. Our superiority complexes sometimes interfere with our enjoying Christmas’ true joys. God helps us adjust our attitudes.
II. God Deflates The Uppity
God “routes the proud of heart”, Jerusalem Bible. So God, who loves the lowly, can love us, we have to be taken down a notch. God does that lovingly for and with us. These are the kinds of “great things” God chooses to do for and with us. Jesus calls His followers to “Become as little children”. We – seated at the Big Folks’ Table – can get excited about Christmas. We can ooh and ah over decorations, shake packages, etc.
III. Dealing With Our Lowliness
Our trip from uppity to lowly is a short journey. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s
"Starlight Express” presents a duet. The male voice sings, “Only you have the power to move me”. The duet voices reply, “And together we can make the whole world move in sympathy”. God’s power can transform us and enable us to make for better sympathy, symphony, harmony, melodic peace, joy and love.
Christian travelled with Mr. Greatheart in Pilgrim’s Progress, remember? They came to a young lad. He sat and sang by himself, “He who is down, need feel no fall; he who is low, no pride; he who is humble shall ever have God to be his guide”. Contentment in lowliness. ”Love came down at Christmas”. That’s where God can love – down here where we are ready to receive divine love.
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