2021-12-19 - 4. Advent - Prädikantin Elke von Schlichting

( Luke 1, 26-38 (39-56) ) - [ Deutsch ] - [ Abkündigungen426.05 KB ]

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee,

27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.” 

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.

30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God.

31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.

32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,

33 and he will reign overJacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[b] the Son of God.

36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month.

37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

(39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea,

40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth.

41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!

43 But why am I so favoured, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.

45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfil his promises to her!”

(Mary’s Song) 46 And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, 48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.

From now on all generations will call me blessed,

49  for the Mighty One has done great things for me - holy is his name. 

50  His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.

51  He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.

52  He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.

53  He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.

54  He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful

55  to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”

56  Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.)

May the grace of our Lord Jesus, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

On the Sunday before Christmas, I have the feeling of a first grader opening a sugar cone. Expectation, joy and hope fill me. Expectation because I suspect that a lot of good things are waiting for me in the sugar cone, joy because I know that the contents are meant for me personally, and hope because I hope that the contents are really what I need to master my school days / life well.

Our worship service also contains these feelings. The beautiful green-bound Advent wreath with its glow of candle lights and the red ribbon awakens the joyful expectation of Jesus' coming. In the Epistle

we are given the joy, the anticipation of peace through the coming of our Lord, and in the Gospel the hopeful message of the birth of Jesus is announced, Jesus who is to change the world. What more do I want? My sugar bag, my faith bag for the rest of my life is filled to the brim with good things. I could already end the sermon there, because we have enough good things that can accompany us into the coming time, and from which we can draw.

But how do I keep this joy, this expectation and hope in my everyday life? How do I keep reminding myself what the coming of Jesus means for me and for the world? Is it not only the great, the mighty of the world who really master life? What do I, a small, inconspicuous person, have to say? In our sermon text, which we have already heard as the Gospel, there is one person who can help us to widen our gaze. Mary, the mother of Jesus.

The story of today's homily is well known to us. The angel Gabriel (who, by the way, is called by name as only one of two angels in the Bible, and is therefore a very special angel) seeks out Mary to give her the "Good News" - she is to give birth to a child, and not just any child, but the Saviour, the one everyone has been waiting for for so long. Wonderful "good news," we would think.

Or perhaps not? Let us put ourselves in Mary's place. A simple, unmarried girl, from artisan circles, from Galilee, a region at the end of the world, so to speak. All around inconspicuous circumstances in which the Saviour would hardly come into the world. Or perhaps nevertheless? Just because of the inconspicuousness? Should an inconspicuous girl, with an inconspicuous origin, from an inconspicuous village really make the greatest world event of all times possible?

Once again the question: Was the announcement of Jesus' birth really good news for her? I rather think not - if I had been standing in their shoes, wouldn’t horror, confusion, fear or even panic have been the first reaction? I try to imagine what she would have thought and replied, "Excuse me? I am to give birth to the Saviour? How is that supposed to happen? That's not possible, I'm engaged to Joseph, aren't I? He will never marry me if I suddenly have a child? No, it was not good news for Mary. On the contrary, with this message, her whole life plan lay before her as a proverbial pile of rubble.

And now comes the incredible! Mary surprises us with an almost immediate change in her questioning attitude. Only for a short time, doubt and fear are lords over this remarkable young woman. But shortly thereafter, these questions are transformed into what is probably the most characteristic answer of all time: "Behold, I am the Lord's handmaid; let it be to me as you have said."

Mary recognizes and accepts God's gift to her and to the whole world. And in doing so, she serves the world not only as the mother of our Saviour, but as an example: a symbol of gratitude, humility, trust, hope, and strength,

Mary's life-affirming attitude is a source of inspiration for all of us. She puts her own needs and interests in the background and opens herself to the responsibility that God entrusts to us. Wouldn't that be a thought, a task and a goal that each of us should think about again? Mary gave life to Jesus, even if it went against her ideas of her life, so that we could all be given gifts, because Jesus came into the world for all of us. A light for you and me, a light for all people.

This change of heart in Mary does not mean, however, that she became superhuman, no, shortly afterwards she too was again plagued by doubts, an absolutely human characteristic that we all know.

She hurries to Elizabeth, her relative, to make sure that the angel's promise that Elizabeth would also bear a child was really true. How great is her relief when she finds exactly what the angel had told her. Elizabeth, ...pregnant, ...in the 6th month!! And at this point my sugar bag, my bag of faith, fills with all the small inconspicuous gifts that I need for life, because at this point Mary intones a praise

that sings of the fact that I too, as small and inconspicuous as I sometimes feel, that I too have a voice with God, that God too gifts me with his grace. That God's coming is also and above all for me. For each individual he comes into the world. In whatever situation I find myself, Christ is with me. I can take this certainty with me into my everyday life and always rely on it....

Mary sings. In singing she praises God. In praising, she confirms the gift of Jesus, and in confirming, she believes in the fulfilment of the promise.

Mary, the inconspicuous girl from Galilee, sings with the voice of the inconspicuous. With the voice of those who are no longer seen or noticed - She sings with the voice of the elderly who have to make do with their far too small pensions, with the voice of people from socially difficult backgrounds who desperately try to be included in society. Mary sings with the voice of the unemployed who are always despondent in their search for work, with the voice of the beggars who do not know if there will be anything to eat for them tomorrow, with the voice of the small entrepreneurs who see no future for their business in this difficult economic situation. She sings with the voice of the doctors and nurses who are still desperately trying to save people from the virus and she sings with the voice of the teachers and parents who, despite all impossible circumstances, have to prepare young people for life. Mary sings with the voice of taxpayers who urge their government to govern responsibly and compassionately, she sings with the voice of the Church that tries to mediate peace between cultures.

It sings with the voice of those who have identity crises and do not know who they are, with the voice of those who are hopeless and aimless, who have no future and no perspective, who look into each day desperate and lonely, fearful and discontented, and it sings with the voice of those who want to be heard but do not know how.

Through the birth of Jesus, God gives a voice to those who no one else hears, sees or takes seriously. God lets Mary sing against all the rules of the world, because with God nothing is impossible.

Mary sings. I hear her song. And I join in her song. A song of praise for my Lord, out of gratitude, because I know that my Lord came for me and for my neighbour, yes, for everyone who believes in him and follows him. God's gift is for me. I only have to accept it. And if perhaps I missed it once or was disappointed by it, I still have a chance, because God comes to me again and again, in his Word and in the sacraments. He is not a one-time candle on a birthday cake, no he comes again every year. The candles on the Advent wreath remind us of this.

And so I, too, join in the hymn of all hymns, because with him I go into everyday life with my sugar bag, with my bag of faith.



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