Second Sunday in Advent 08 December 2019 A.D.

Second Sunday in Advent      08 December 2019 A.D.    Morning Prayer

Psalm 25                 First lesson. Isaiah 55                       Second lesson. Luke 1:26-56

                                 Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to
                                 be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such
                                 wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest
                                 them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we
                                 may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of
                                 everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Savior
                                 Jesus Christ.                                              Amen.

                                 Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away
                         the works of darkness, and put upon us the armor of light,
                        now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ
                        came to visit us in great humility, that in the last day, when he shall
                        come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, 
                        we may rise to life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with
                        thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever.                         Amen

Birth of Jesus Foretold 

 This is the time of the year that we look forward to the celebration of the birth of Christ. It was in the period of the early church that began the idea of setting aside four Sundays just before Christmas, or as it was called the Nativity, to help us prepare for this momentous event.  This four Sunday study period, with Old and New Testament readings, hymns, carols, and sermons focusing on this period would take on the name of Advent.  Advent is a term from the Latin which means “that which is to come”. Now what is interesting about this period, the first two Sundays focus on the prophetic nature and period that would herald the coming Savior. Many Old Testament passages would be read and studied to show how the birth of Jesus Christ was foretold many centuries before his birth. We can find references to the birth of Christ in Isaiah, Joel, Malachi, and several other minor prophets in the O.T.  So when Dr. Luke, a Greek medical doctor, writes the account of the birth of Christ, he is being inspired by the Holy Spirit to record what had already been foretold so many centuries earlier. The third and fourth Sundays in Advent focus on both our personal preparation for His coming and on his return to earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. So during this period of reflection, interestingly at the end of our calendar year, we reflect on the past, present, and the future.   Remember the disciples asked Christ, “when will you establish your kingdom?”
Jesus replied, “my kingdom was, is now, and is to come.”  If you look at that passage, he is telling us that his kingdom has always been.  The physical kingdom, established on the new earth, newly created in perfection, is to come. Not to get into any controversy, but we must understand that even Jesus, before his death, burial, and resurrection, stated as to the fact of the second coming: “no man knows but the Father”
We should not spend endless hours trying to figure out the mind and time schedule of God, by setting hours, dates, eras, dispensations for the coming of Christ.  It should suffice us to say, He is coming again. Only the Father knows the time and era.
Now focusing on the first Advent, we know that in time and history, Jesus Christ was born. That is a fact. Contrary to what secular historians try to warp, there was a man named Jesus, who was reported by secular sources, to have lived and stirred up the people in the area we now know as Israel. Some miracles were reported, definitely was his existence noted. This should not be an issue, the Bible has proven many a secular historian, anthropologist, and archeologist wrong, as more and more evidence is found by modern archeologist.
Now let us go to the Biblical record and read about Jesus first coming:

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

For with God nothing shall be impossible.”  

Notice how Mary responds to all this information Gabriel gives to her. She did not completely understand the process, but she took the heavenly messenger’s announcement to heart. She understood that as a child of God she needed to be obedient to his Word. 

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

 Now that Mary has the Word and she is now with child, she goes to visit her older cousin Elizabeth. This visit not only certifies what is happening to Mary, but it also confirms the prophetic happenings concerning the miraculous birth of John. His mother, Elizabeth had never had any children, she was much older when the angel told her husband that they would have a son, to be named John. He would be the herald who was foretold in the book of Isaiah.  “A voice in the wilderness, calling for repentance, making the way for the coming One who will take away the sins of the world”.  

And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judea;
And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.
And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: 
  Here is one of the strongest pieces of evidence concerning life before birth. Contrary to some political thought, the child that Elizabeth was carrying recognized the voice of one who was carrying the Savior of the World. He (John the baptizer) leaped in Elizabeth womb when he heard Mary’s voice!  If life doesn’t begin before birth why did the baby in vitro, John, recognize the voice of Mary?   Interesting.

And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.

 Here is the confirmation, by Elizabeth, that all that has been taking place is of the Lord. It was foretold many hundreds of years earlier, is now coming true. This is within a six month period of time, notice that all of this begins to happen very rapidly, once the message is revealed. Now Jesus will grow up as a human would, over the years, many experiences, until the time was right for his ministry that will only cover about 3 ½ years and encompass only some 80 miles around his home town. But that ministry will have eternal consequences for all mankind. Finally the salvation promised at the Garden is revealed. Finally we can put off our sins and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and savior of our souls, we can be forever alive in Him, all because the little baby born to a virgin that chilly night so many years ago.  Elizabeth gives Mary that final thought to ponder in the form of a blessing. 
And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.

  And finally, just a little controversy for the season.  “Mary did you know?”  A popular folk/ballad in the form of a lullaby asks the question of Mary if she knows who her child is and will become. It was penned in 1984 by a Mark Lowry.  The record speaks from the Gospel of St. Luke; Mary knew. The Holy Spirit revealed to her the overall mission of Christ’s birth.  No the prophesy did not detail his death, that would be revealed elsewhere in the Old Testament, but the Gift of God to his creation, that is revealed by this passage of scripture called the “Magnificat” 

And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.
He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;
As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

   Now let us go out this day remembering what Jesus did for us, when he first came to earth, as a tiny little child, to grow up and live amongst his own, to one day suffer, die, be buried and finally rise again in newness of life three days later, in the glorious resurrection, that guarantees our resurrection to eternal life.  Let us focus on the real reason for this season, Jesus Christ the King, the Son of God, the Savior of mankind.

Let us pray. Luke 1:68-79

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he has visited and redeemed his people; and has raised up a mighty salvation for us, in the house of his son David; as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began; that we should be save from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.                                                               Amen

LOOK, we beseech thee, O Lord, upon the people of this land who are called after thy holy Name; and grant that they may ever walk worthy of their Christian profession. Grant unto us all that, laying aside our divisions, we may be united in heart and mind to bear the burdens which are laid upon us. Help us to respond to the call of our country according to our several powers put far from us selfish indifference to the needs of others; and give us grace to fulfil our daily duties with sober diligence. Keep us from all uncharitableness in word or deed; and enable us by patient continuance in well-doing to glorify thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.                             Amen.

O GOD, our heavenly Father, who didst manifest thy love by sending thine only-begotten Son into the world, that all might live through him; Pour thy Spirit upon thy Church, that it may fulfil his command to preach the Gospel to every creature; send forth, we beseech thee, labourers into thine harvest; defend them in all dangers and temptations; and hasten the time when the fulness of the Gentiles shall be gathered in, and all Israel shall be saved through Jesus Christ our Lord.                    Amen.

THE grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore.



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