Readings for the day:
2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
Dear friends in Christ, grace to you and peace from God our Father, and our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ. Amen.
Christmas is coming! But before we hear the words of that very familiar Christmas story about our Savior’s birth from the second chapter of Luke, we first hear two wonderful passages from the first chapter of Luke. Today is the fourth and final Sunday in Advent. We just heard the Annunciation, which is when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary giving her the message that she would bear a child. And for our responsive Psalm this morning, we read the Magnificat or Mary’s Song. This is the song that Mary sings after being told by the angel Gabriel that she would bear a child, and not just any child, but God’s child – God’s Son.
Mary, a teenager, engaged to be married to Joseph becomes perplexed and ponders the words from the angel Gabriel. “How can this be, Mary asks, since I am a virgin?” When Zachariah is told that his wife is going to bear a child he asks how this can be in her old age and laughs. Zachariah is then muted, unable to speak until his son, John, is born. Mary on the other hand, when asking how this can be, a virgin, gets an explanation. She is told that the Holy Spirit will come upon her and the power of the Most High will overshadow her; therefore the child to be born will be holy, set apart from the rest, he will be called Son of God.
Then the angel gives Mary proof that his words, which are coming from God, are true and will indeed happen. The angel Gabriel says, “Your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren.” Then probably the most important verse in this whole passage is said by the angel. The angel says, “For nothing will be impossible with God.” Nothing will be impossible with God! Now after looking at the Greek, this really isn’t the best translation. As it reads in English, nothing will be impossible with God, sounds like God does magic tricks or something; things that can’t be accounted for. But our English translations leave off two important words that are in the Greek. Those two words are – EVERY WORD. So if we include these words in our English translation this verse would say, “For nothing will be impossible with God’s every word.” Or maybe a little clearer, “For nothing will be impossible with all of God’s words.”
Now that means something! Sure nothing is impossible with God, but God isn’t David Copperfield, Chris Angel or some magician. He is the creator of the world. When He speaks, things happen! It is God’s Word that makes all things possible. When God spoke, the world came into being. When God spoke again, Moses was leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt and into the Promised Land. And when God spoke, Elizabeth and Mary became pregnant and each would soon bear a child. There is great power in God’s Word. When He speaks, things happen!
If you don’t believe me, look at our sacraments, baptism and communion. In baptism, we are claimed by God, washed clean of our sins, and given the promise of eternal life with God. But how can water do all of that? Water is just water after all! Water, on its own cannot do any of this, but water with God’s Word does give us these promises. Without the word of God the water is simply water and no baptism. But with the word of God it is a baptism, which is life giving water poured over us.
Likewise, with Holy Communion, how can a little wafer (made out of water a flour) possibly give you nourishment for your day? Or how can a little shot of wine possibly quench your thirst? They can’t! But when you eat and drink and hear the words given and shed for you, you can know that you are receiving Christ and receiving forgiveness of your sins and the promise of eternal life with God. Bread and wine can’t do this on their own, but with God’s Word, nothing is impossible with God.
You see, when God speaks, things happen. When water is poured over a child’s head and God speaks, the child is claimed by God. When you hold out your hand and eat that tasteless wafer or drink that little cup of wine and God speaks, you receive God’s forgiveness of sins.
Nothing will be impossible with God’s Word. How else do you think that a teenage girl became the mother to the savior of the world? Or how could she possibly sing that beautiful song after receiving that word from God? Because she had faith that when God’s speaks, things will happen as they say. God told Mary that she was to bear a child and he would be great. Mary proclaims that God has brought himself, the powerful, down from his throne by coming into the world as an infant. He has done this to lift up the lowly, all of the sinners – you and me! God didn’t have to do any of this. He could have just had Jesus just die on the cross to save the world, but instead he wanted to gain our trust and show us just how much he loves his children. So he works through Mary and Joseph, a simply, humble, little family. He learns what it is like to be one of his own creatures all to save the world. Sure, nothing is impossible with God. When God speaks, things do indeed happen – babies are born, the sun rises in the east, people are claimed through the waters of baptism, and we all are nourished through bread and wine. Jesus is coming because nothing is impossible when God speaks! Amen.
© 2014 Anthony Christoffels. Used with permission.
 Luke 1:34, NRSV
 Luke 1:35, NRSV
 Luke 1:36, NRSV
 Luke 1:37, NRSV