December 18 – Fourth Sunday of Advent

Good morning everyone! Can you believe we are already at the fourth Sunday of Advent?

Today’s Scripture: Luke 1:26-38

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.

And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”

But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.

The angel said to her, “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 name him Jesus. 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.”

Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”

The angel said to her, “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. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
Today at the CoOp we will be talking about how to practice spirituality in our busy lives by recognizing God with us.  The angel proclaims that Jesus will be this for us, an incarnation of God in the world.  Mary is so human that she is perplexed but holds enough faith to step up to the task.  Gabriel tells Mary that she is favored.  This alone will tell us that God is with us for a moment.  We are each valued and favored by God.  If nothing else, we have this moment in time in which we feel God surround us.  There are so many ways this happens to people.  For me, there is a moment in conversation where things just feel differently and I know that I am in a holy and thin space.

But how do we actively practice God’s presence in 30 seconds or less?  This is what I am supposed to be tackling this morning.  During Advent we long so much to feel God beside us, how can we heighten our awareness of those thin spaces?  And perhaps you have some ways on your own. For me, during this season, this means choosing moments over tasks I realized yesterday.  I got to preside at a wedding yesterday. The bride was someone I babysat when I was in high school.  Before the wedding, earlier in the day, I was supposed to have breakfast with some dear friends.  They didn’t show up…somehow our communication got mixed up.  So I thought to myself, “Should I go on to the next task and pay for the coffee I have already had or do I sit for a bit?” I chose the moment over the task and enjoyed a breakfast to myself (lots of conversation with the waitress too and the people next to me) and I read.  It was lovely and a moment in busy time to enjoy God’s presence.  I think walked around a bit and ran into a friend who looked up and said, “hey! do you have time to sit and drink coffee and catch up?”  Did I have time? Yes, I did! I didn’t have to be anywhere for a bit.  I chose the moment instead of the task that didn’t need to be done right now.
It is so easy to get into the whirlwind of tasks this season while sometimes we need a moment to eat breakfast and enjoy.  It heightens our anticipation and our awareness.
Now, for something fun to leave you with this morning to enjoy that I found yesterday….just fun….
Prayer: O God, help us to choose moments this morning as we search for you with us.  Illumine the thin spaces throughout our week as we prepare to welcome you in the world. Amen.
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