Fourth Sunday of Advent
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 1:26-38.
The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
"Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you."
But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
"Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
"Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."
But Mary said to the angel,
"How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?"
And the angel said to her in reply,
"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 called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God."
Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word."
Then the angel departed from her.
Sometimes God chooses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. He’s always looking for people willing to serve him. It’s not our ability, but our availability, that makes us useful to him.
When the time came for Jesus to be born, God chose someone nobody would have picked to be the mother of the Son of God. He sent his angel to a simple peasant girl from Galilee named Mary. The angel brought astounding news: “God has favored you. His Holy Spirit will come upon you, and you will be the mother of God’s Messiah.”
Becoming a mother, even the mother of God’s Son, wouldn’t be easy. Mary didn’t yet have a husband; what would people think? But she was available to God. She said, “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me just as you have said.”
As we light this fourth Advent candle, we remember the Virgin Mary, and her humble faith that made her fit to be the mother of the Messiah:
Let us pray. Give us, O Lord, that same simple faith that Mary had, so you can use us for whatever purpose you plan for us. May we always be available to you, ready to serve you; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Jesus came to us as a light for a darkened world. And he told us that we, too, were to be lights for the world. As we light the Christ Candle, let us remember that we are called to be light, reflecting the greater glory of the Son of God.
Let us pray. Thank you, Lord, for the gift of light, shining upon us in the face of Jesus our Savior. May the light of Christ shine brightly in our hearts, guiding us through life and leading us to your truth; through Christ our Lord. Amen.