Don’t blink or you will miss this week of Advent. Only one day long, the fourth Sunday of Advent morphs into Christmas Eve by sundown. For those of us in the northern hemisphere, comes pretty quickly. While the bunching of the festival into the weekend does create a nice break for the preacher after the holy day, it makes for some intense preparation. As Paul said in the Epistle reading we heard on Advent III, pray without ceasing. Know that I pray for you.
This fourth Sunday of Advent, however, affords us an important place to stop and consider before we launch into the frenzy of Christmas Eve and Day. Gabriel comes to Mary and announces to her that she will be the mother of Jesus. Equally and perhaps even more importantly, he waits for her assent to that proclamation. It is not just imposed, but it is proposed. She ponders, she considers. It is only after her yes that Gabriel leaves for his many other and pressing duties. There was a day when an archangel of God, surely one of the most powerful beings in God’s created order, waited on the decision of a Jewish peasant girl, likely a teenager.
This should already clue us in that what is happening will turn the world upside down. You and I are part of that world inverted by that incarnation of event. Our preaching, our worship, our service, all of it, is the ripples of what happened in that humble house in Nazareth when all the universe waited on the “Yes, let it be as you have said,” spoken by a young woman of Nazareth.