Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Readings for Sunday, December 23 and Christmas Eve

Hello Everyone,

The readings for this coming Sunday are:

Micah 5:2-5a – The prophet declares that Bethlehem will be the place where the new leader will come from, one who will shepherd Israel in strength, security, and peace.

Luke 1:46b-55 – This is Mary’s song which results from her visit with her relative Elizabeth. It is, if you read it closely, a radical declaration that the poor and dispossessed will supplant the rich and powerful of the world. The new world begins with a poor, pregnant, unwed, teenage girl from a small insignificant town in the furthest reach of the Roman empire.

OR Psalm 80:1-7 – This Psalm, and we are reading only a small portion of it, is a plea to God to restore God’s chosen people.

Hebrews 10:5-10 – The author (preacher) of Hebrews declares through his quotation from Psalm 40, that the usual temple sacrifices mean nothing to God. The one sacrifice that Jesus gave of himself is sufficient for all time and through that sacrifice we have been sanctified.

Luke 1:39-45 – After Mary received word from the angel Gabriel that she will be pregnant with son of God, she visits her relative Elizabeth who is pregnant with John. When Elizabeth’s son jumps in the womb with the arrival of Mary, she declares the blessedness of Mary and her pregnancy.

The readings we will use for Christmas Eve Service of Lessons and Carols are:

Isaiah 9:2-7 – God, through the prophet, declares that there will be a child who will born will lead the people in peace, justice, and righteousness forever. That which oppresses the people now will be lifted and the people will rejoice.

Micah 5:2-5a – See above

Luke 1:26-38 – Gabriel, the angel, visits Mary and declares (maybe he invites her participation) that she will become pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Proof of God’s power can be found in the pregnancy of Elizabeth, who is old. She consents. Does the angel announce what WILL happen or can this be read as an invitation to participation? In other words, does Mary have a choice?

Luke 2:1-7 – A census is called and Joseph and Mary must travel some 90 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem. One of Luke’s literary device is to firmly locate events in place and time. There is really no indication of the time interval between their arrival in Bethlehem and the birth of Jesus. Every pageant that I have seen seems to indicate that the night they arrived was the night Jesus arrived.

Luke 2:8-20 – The bad boys of the time, shepherds, received a message from an angel about the birth of Jesus. The good news comes to an old, childless couple, a teenage unwed girl, stinky unwashed cowboys, and to sooth-saying Gentile astrologers. Just who is the good news meant?

Matthew 2:1-12 – The arrival of those sooth-saying Gentile astrologers with three gifts and their encounter with the nastiest King of Judah, Herod.

John 1:1-14 – This is the soaring opening of the Gospel of John. Word, God, creation, life, light, witnesses, rejection, grace and truth. This is Jesus.

Have a great week in preparation and anticipation of the Coming of our Lord and Savior.

Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary

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