December 18, 2016 – A child has been born for us

Advent 4   December 18, 2016    Psalm 98, Isaiah 9:2-7, Luke 2:1-20   A child has been born for us *********************************************** The Christmas story is so very familiar… we can sometimes need a little jolt… to be able to really hear it… (And this is part of the story…) The angel Gabriel surprises the elderly priest Zechariah in the temple in the first scene of Luke’s gospel, saying “do not be afraid – I bring good news – a son’s on the way for you and your wife Elizabeth.’ Zechariah knows all the stories of what God can do. He’s been praying for a son for many years. But now he’s so terrified by the angel that he can’t believe the angel’s words. Months later, the same angel Gabriel appears to Mary, a young woman in the small village of Nazareth, telling her she will be the mother of a child to be named Jesus, who will inherit the throne of his ancestor King David, and of his reign there will be no end. He will be called Son of God…And by the way, Mary – this will happen before you get married, through the power of God’s Holy Spirit… (And Mary is left to ponder the angel’s words…) Sometime after this, in Matthew’s gospel, we’re told her fiancee Joseph has also been pondering… And now he’s about to call the whole thing off – when an angel appears to him in a dream-like-vision, telling him ‘not to worry – the child to be born of Mary is holy – go ahead and marry her.’ Which he does… And I’m sometimes struck by how much the Christmas story depends on angels….As now a mighty angel appears to shepherds watching their flocks by night… giving the same “Do not be afraid” greeting the angel also gave Zechariah and Mary… And all these scenes from the gospel story are so familiar… I seldom pause to consider: What happens to the story… if we don’t believe in angels? I don’t think that was much of an issue for people in earlier times…. The reality of angels was not even regarded as a serious question… And perhaps angel appearances were more frequent… and more obvious… in days of old. I still believe angels are real…But I certainly don’t claim to understand them well at all…But I do know the word “angel” is literally “messenger” in the Hebrew. And in both the Old and New Testaments, lines are sometimes a little blurry between human and divine messengers… The patriarch Jacob wrestles all night with somebody first called a man, then called God, then (in Hosea) called an angel. And the two dressed in dazzling white at the tomb of Jesus in Luke are called men first, then angels… (Many other examples come to mind, but…) Remember, again the familiar setting of the Christmas story… In the days when Augustus Caesar was Emperor, and Quirinius governor over the Roman province of Syria, a decree when out for all the world to be registered for taxation. Mary and Joseph then journey 70-some miles from their home in the northern village of Nazareth of Galilee, to Bethlehem, home town of King David of whom Joseph is descended, to be registered… And the time came for Mary to give birth,...

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Week of December 18, 2016 – Bourne

THIS WEEK IN THE LIFE OF THE PARISH Sunday, Dec. 18th: 11:00 AM Worship Wrap & Tag Party 2:00 PM Mazheika Student Piano Recital Saturday, Dec. 24th: 4:00 PM Family Christmas Eve Service 9:00 PM Lessons and Carols Service Sunday, Dec. 25th: 11:00 AM Worship at Cataumet UMC CHRISTMAS SERVICE SCHEDULE: Christmas Eve: Saturday, December 24th: – 4:00pm Family Service – 9:00pm Lessons and Carols Service Christmas Day: Sunday, December 25th: – 11:00am Joint Service at Cataumet UMC (no services at Bourne) THE ALTAR FLOWER DONATION CHART for 2017 is now posted. Please sign up! LOOKING AHEAD: The Church Office will be closed on the Tuesday and Thursday following Christmas, but will be open on Friday the 30th. Messages and emails will still be checked if anything should come up, and Pastor Tim can be reached at the parsonage. Merry Christmas! OUR BIBLE STUDY GROUP will not meet this week, and will resume meetings in January. CHILDREN’S CLOTHING EXCHANGE: We continue to accept gently used warm winter children’s clothes, sizes 0-14, which may be dropped off at the Thrift Shop or in the church hall. The exchange is open the first Saturday of each month from 9:30am to 12pm. BACKPACK PROJECT: These items are urgently needed: Cereal-cold, any kind, Oatmeal packets, Jelly, Mayonnaise, Canned tuna, Canned chicken, Canned pasta with meat-raviolis, lasagna, spaghetti with meatballs, Hot cocoa and Microwave popcorn. A complete list is available in Crain Hall.    ...

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