Sunday 29 November
Rejoice and Believe in the Lord's arrival
Advent is all about waiting for the Lord's arrival - both his 1st arrival (Christmas) and his 2nd arrival (when Jesus will come back).
Luke 1v39-45 encourages us this Advent to rejoice (like Elizabeth and her baby) and believe (like Mary).
1) REJOICE (like Elizabeth and her baby)
39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favoured, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.
When was the last time you leaped for joy?
Twice we're told here that the baby in Elizabeth's womb (John the Baptist) "leaped for joy" when he got near to the baby in Mary's womb (Jesus).
Lots of people get excited for royal babies. Can you name these?
But Jesus was an extra-special royal baby. An angel had just told Mary, "His kingdom will never end," and he would be called, "The Son of the Most High" (v32-33).
No wonder Elizabeth burst into song and John leaped for joy! So should we!
2. BELIEVE (like Mary)
We'll only rejoice in the Lord's arrival (both his first and second) if we actually believe it, just like Mary did:
"Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfil his promises to her!" (v45)
It can't have been easy for Mary to believe God's promise that she was about to give birth to the ultimate King and the Son of God! It seems easy for us by comparison to believe that's who Jesus is given we know all that he would go on to do. So we can believe that first Christmas really happened and we can believe that Jesus really will come back one day as the King of Kings, just as God has promised.
See, unlike us, God always keeps his promises:
Our Father in heaven, thank you that you sent your Son to be the king we really need and that one day he will return. Please help our hearts to leap for joy this Advent because we really believe this. In Jesus name. Amen.