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"Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is With You..." by Jason Edwards

Luke 1:26-42

 Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you… (Luke 1: 28)

"City sidewalks, busy sidewalks dressed in holiday style..."

"JASON!" My cousin exclaimed, red-faced from embarrassment, "STOP BEING OBNOXIOUS!"

She was right. We were in the middle of the mall in Texarkana, TX, I was singing Christmas carols at the top of my range with intent to embarrass, and I'm not sure it was even Christmas. I was being obnoxious.

My wife might argue that I'm still a bit obnoxious when it comes to Christmas carols. I don't sing with intent to embarrass anymore, but I do sing them around the house, often out of season. The Christmas season has always held special joy for me, and somehow, whether I'm recalling them in December or June, carols kindle that for me.

The music of the season has always held this special ability to capture the spirit of the season. We see this in the Gospel story, with canticles scattered across the Advent and Christmas stories of Luke 1 and 2. In today's text we find two sung responses that are the inspiration for the more recently composed Christmas canticle, Ave Maria. The first is found in verse 28 when the Angel Gabriel says: "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” The second comes in verse 48 when her cousin Elizabeth proclaims “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!"

If you've ever heard a Hail Mary, you may recall verse 28 beginning another way: “Hail Mary, full of grace." What a captivating way for Gabriel to describe this girl who was barely a teenager. What do you think it means?

Let's assume it doesn’t mean Mary was perfect, sinless, or immaculately conceived. Let's assume it means something about how she carries herself, how she lives before God and with others. Something about her way of being in the world drew forth the word grace from the lips of the angel and favor from the heart of God. Whatever this means, let's assume this gracious way of being isn't only possible for Mary, but for us too.

What would it mean for you to live before God and with others as one who is full of grace? Perhaps the answer is one worthy of finding through experimentation this Advent. If the endeavor sounds interesting, why not start now.? If it doesn't, why not sing a few bars of your favorite Christmas carol to kindle the mood. It’s never too early.

Jason Edwards, Senior Pastor

Artwork by Elizabeth Dilts






Artwork by Henry Lewis

Posted by Jason Edwards at 6:00 AM