December 22, 2002
Fourth Sunday of Advent

Luke 1:26-38

In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin's name, Mary. Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her:

"Good morning!
You're beautiful with God's beauty,
Beautiful inside and out!
God be with you."

She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, "Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus.

He will be great,
be called 'Son of the Highest.'
The Lord God will give him
the throne of his father David;
He will rule Jacob's house forever-
no end, ever, to his kingdom."

Mary said to the angel, "But how? I've never slept with a man."

The angel answered,
     "The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
     the power of the Highest hover over you;
     Therefore, the child you bring to birth
     will be called Holy, Son of God.

"And did you know that your cousin Elizabeth conceived a son, old as she is? Everyone called her barren, and here she is six months pregnant! Nothing, you see, is impossible with God."

And Mary said,
     "Yes, I see it all now:
     I'm the Lord's maid, ready to serve.
     Let it be with me
     just as you say."

Then the angel left her.

[The Message]


1. Oh, sure, we sign up and then are left on our own. No wonder Mary soon went to visit Elizabeth. We all need a shot of experiencing impossibilities become possible.

2. I was visiting with a mover and shaker in another conference and mentioned my continued vision of equalized salaries within the rank of clergy. He dismissed it as an impossibility because congregations don't want to give up their power of selection. But, I still ask, If congregations are set apart from GOD's possibilities breaking their impossibilities, where are we?

What have you set up as an impossibility?

3. Perhaps a place to begin with impossibilities is with our image of ourselves.

How do you respond to the angel's greeting when it comes with your name on it?

"_____ (your name),
Good morning!
You're beautiful with God's beauty,
Beautiful inside and out!
God be with you."

This is so. So decide (respond to life) accordingly.

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