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Fourth Sunday in Advent (cycle b)

 

 

Prayer based on all Lections
by Rev. F. Schaefer

God of Grace and Surprise, today we embrace the announcement of the incarnation of your only begotten Son. We stand in awe and wonder of your plan of salvation which confounds the wisdom of this world. Thank you for fulfilling your promise given by the prophets of old--the sign of reconciliation in and through Jesus, our Lord. 

Help us to recognize the incarnation of your grace especially with those who suffer, those who are impoverished and victimized.  Enable us to stand in solidarity with the least of our brothers and sisters in Christ, so that the world will see in us the good news of Emmanuel, God-with-us, in whose very name we pray. Amen.

 

 

Sermons:

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Sermon Excerpt:

"The Pause Between Two Notes"
Luke 1:26-38
by Gary in New Bern

Rilke, in his Book of Hours, writes:

I am the pause between two notes that fall
into a real accordance scarce at all;
for death's note tends to dominate.

Not much of an Advent text, is it? It hardly seems to match the flavor of the Christmas season, and hardly seems right to introduce such a sour note right before Christmas. It seems to be the antithesis of everything that we see and hear during this beautiful holiday season.

Yet I believe this little poem captures the spirit of the season better than all the tinsel, colored lights and Christmas carols that lift our hearts into the magical joy that we call "Christmas." Because, when we take away all of the gold and glitter, the sentimental feelings that have been part of our celebrations since childhood, and place this story in the real world, Rilke's lines seem an appropriate commentary on this story.

The Christmas story, by worldly standards, is really one that hardly bears mentioning. It is a story common to its time. Because of an imperial edict, an older man and his teen-age bride are forced to travel to their ancestral home. To complicate matters, she is pregnant - ready to deliver her first child - a baby that is not his, and is obviously born out of wedlock. As they arrive in town, they find that there is no place for shelter, and she is in labor. Finally, after much searching around, they find a cave where animals are being sheltered and, there, amid sweaty animals and flies, in the dirty, itching hay, she gives birth to a child - her first ...


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