The Story Of God’s Love
December 20, 2020
4th Sunday of Advent
Archbishop Loren Thomas Hines
December 20, 2020
Readings: 2 Samuel 7:4, 8-16
Romans 16: 25-27
Luke 1: 26-38
Christmas has always been a time of great joy. Many people however, don’t seem to understand the true reason of the celebration. As far as we know, Christmas took place on the 25th. Although it may not be the exact date, it has been accepted by the church fathers that this day has been known to be Christmas day.
Christmas is the story of God’s love. The focus is on the birth of Christ. Mary was used to bring forth the Christ Child. Because of her obedience, it came to pass. Mary and Joseph were betrothed to each other. It was like what we would call today as an engagement. The angel Gabriel was sent to Mary to bring her God’s message. “Gabriel” literally means, “strength of God.” Gabriel needed God’s divine strength because he was going through a battle with the enemy who did not want this event to take place. When Gabriel appeared before Mary, he said to her, “Oh favored one, the Lord is with you.” Gabriel was emphasizing the fact that God was going to be with Mary in this special event that was to take place. In the same manner when we hear the words, “The Lord is with you,” we are to understand that through us, God will use His power for us to be able to “give birth” to great things.
God is a Spirit. He needed flesh in order for this task to be accomplished. For the impregnation to be made possible, he needed to “borrow” Mary’s womb for the Spirit and flesh to be mixed. She was to be the instrument to bring forth this child who would save and redeem mankind. Mary was an innocent and humble teenager and must have been anxious and scared. And yet she willingly obeyed the will of God and became the temple of the Spirit. She was going to reverse what Eve had done. Eve listened to the serpent and brought about death. But Mary listened to the angel sent by God, and brought forth life. We need to grasp the awesomeness of God. Because of His unconditional love for man, He was willing to let His Son become flesh to dwell among us.
Both Colossians and Ephesians emphasize that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. We have been given grace upon grace. Through Jesus, He changed the course of mankind by His wondrous works of healing the sick, raising the dead, redeeming man from sin, restoring man unto God.
“The Lord is with you” is such a powerful statement and we need to believe that something great will happen in our lives. We need to have faith in what God has done for us. Christ will not fail in His commitment to fulfill His promises and purposes for us. In each of our lives, if only we are willing to accept what He has done, then we will live a victorious life.
God saw in Mary’s character, humility. He found her to be the best vessel for Christ to be born. Like Mary, we are to “give birth” for Christ to be in our lives so that the world may see God’s love.