Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26
We read in Genesis, that after God had created existence, the nocturnal darkness of night, the bright illumination of day, the roaring oceans and seas, the flowing and meandering waterways of the land, the mighty majestic mountains touching the clouds, the great carpet vegetation of the forest with grand trees, and filled the waters, the skies, and the land with living creatures, we read in the Genesis text. That God looked and observed what God had created, saw that it was good, and blessed it.
Yet still that was not enough God, still had more to do, a stirring, a movement, a hunger for something more, God the loving architect and creator wanted and sought to create something that would affirm elements and portions of God’s nature and way, and realize the glory and more importantly the love of and that is God.
So, we further read in the myopic creation epic that God the great creator, the lover of all that we are, declared to the hosts of heaven let us Adom/humanity both male and female, and create them after and in our image.
So, God took some of the soil and cosmic dust of creation, God formed us into an image to reflect God’s great love for us. Then God breathing God’s breath, the “Ruah” (the divine spirit, the breath of life), God breathed it into the formed dirt and cosmic dust of creation, and we became embodied created living creatures we are. God gave us each this gift of life.
And as we continue to read, after marvelous and mighty act of love, again God observed, God looked saw what God had created, again blessed it, hear this, blessed us, and said go forth and be fruitful, I’ve given you all you need and require for life…
At creation God gave nothing but the good gifts, God gave all the needs for life, just one rule-or-prohibition was given do not take from or touch the tree of life, but all else is yours. No sprit of fear, no spirit of deception, no spirit of hate, jealousy, envy was given.
The creation epic informs and tells us that God gave us the gifts of life, God did such because of the great love God has for us. As we gather today to celebrate again another great gift from God because of God’s great love for us, the pattern that emerges is one of a loving, caring and concerned God that unconditionally loves us, and constantly gives us the good gifts.
If one can understand and except the creation epic and God’s actions shown and expressed there, and giving those actions as version 1.0, what we encounter in the Luke text of today where we have the angel Gabriel visiting a young girl in Nazareth, named Mary and informing her of being found favorable with God, and because of such through her she would be a vessel for a greater gift, an improved and enhanced version 2.0, if you will, that God would again give to the world/creation.
This gift, this version had some great enhancements/improvements, it would change, transform, enhance and give a new hope, a new urgency, a new and expanded love, and a new understanding of life birth now and eternally to God’s first gift from version1.0
Now let us for a moment focus on some of the movement and implementations that are embedded in this version 2.0 of the angel Gabriel’s visit and message to Mary concerning forthcoming of the Christ Child she is to give birth to;
What Mary was about to hear has changed the eons of time forever. To a young maiden engaged to Joseph come the words of comfort and promise given by one of God’s most powerful and magnificent messenger angel Gabriel, stating:
“‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will call him Jesus” (1:30-31).
The name “Jesus” would have special meaning for her and all ancient Israelites, because it is derived from a Hebrew word that means “savior” and signifies the promise of one who saves God’s people. Not only will Mary conceive a child in a way never heard of before, but the child will play a special role in the salvation of all God’s people. You’ve heard the musical refrain; Hear the message of the angels: “To you is born in the city of David, a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord” (2:11).
The proclamation of who Jesus is has to be one of the most exalted in all scripture: “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 ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (1:32-33).
In Jesus, the fulfillment of the ages has come. The Messiah, so longed for in the history of God’s people, brings together the reign of David and the promise of life to the family of Jacob/Israel. Thus it is no wonder that Mary responds: “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” (1:34).
The wonderful exchange between Mary and the angel Gabriel continues to express God’s pure and simple gift to Mary, and all creation us included: “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 holy; he will be called Son of God” (1:35). Within this single verse, we have the basis why the Christian faith is centered in the triune God. All three persons are present in the God we confess as “the Most High,” in Jesus Christ “the Son of God,” and the overshadowing presence of “the Holy Spirit.”
The older and once barren mother is visited by the young mother-to-be in the verses that follow our text (1:39-45). The text records one of the most touching experiences of a mother, who was once barren: “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry” (1:41-42a). Her words of praise follow in verses 1:42b-45.
The interpretive key to the first two chapters of the Gospel of Luke is present in the message of the angel: “For nothing will be impossible with God” (1:37). This is the story of Elizabeth, Mary and the faith in which the evangelist has authored this gospel. This theme continues throughout the entire gospel to the crucifixion, the resurrection, and the ascension of Jesus Christ, through the love of God−nothing is impossible.
The final response of Mary in our text for today expresses the faith of the young mother-to-be, chosen by God: “‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel Gabriel departed from her” (1:38).
This Sunday’s text is the Advent of salvation that brings together the past, present, and future under God’s salvation, purpose, and love. It started both before and as God’s Spirit hovered over the deep deep darkness of nothingness, but there was a spirit-moving, a calling, a stirring, a loving for creating, for blessing for doing, for giving and for providing.
We have a unique position and relationship with Elohim, with the Ever-Lasting, God Almighty. In Scripture the Psalmist speaks and ask our relationship with God, saying;
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?[a]
5 You have made them[b] a little lower than the angels[c]
and crowned them[d] with glory and honor.
6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their[e] feet: LORD God, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.” (Psalm 8:2-9)
God’s great love has done great works, on our behalf, for our benefit. Version 1, gave us and introduction into the being of whom God is. We live now under the full authority of nature, grace and love of God through Christ Jesus in Version 2, new and improved from the first and original version
So as I close, I want to state and share that God’s love has been unrelenting, its been redemptive, its been concerned, its been filled with grace. God did not and does not compel us to automatically obey, give praise and have reverence for whom God is, we have autonomy, free-will to strive to be better, to do good, to care, to be concerned or not. God ask to be a part of our lives, “I stand at the portals of your heart knocking, if you hear my voice and invite me in, I will dwell with you and you with me…”. (Revelation 3:20)
We will have differences and difficulties, we are on this side of glory but God gives, God allows us to foretaste glory divine. So we from time-to-time struggle, we’re shook-up, shocked at the brutality, ugliness, hate and all manner of sin that impacts our lives and living, and it is just in such matters God calls, invites us to be our better selves, to live not in the darkness of hurt, suffering and pain but to experience the beauty of life, living and love.
Helen Keller wrote concerning the beauty of living these words; “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart.”
God’s Love is more than enough, that is why God says in your heart are what you treasure, the love of God in our hearts transforms us, it transforms our community, it transforms or enemies, it transforms the world, for the world was created out of and by the love of God’s heart.
The good gifts, the fruits of love are what we have spoken about during this season of Advent, as we have rehearsed the ritual that recalls and reminds us to prepare for the coming of the LORD.
That all our works focusing on JOY, PEACE, HOPE, and LOVE are not just the gifts (good gifts) from God, they are portions of the nature of God.