Sermon: Advent 3 Midweek (Quempas)

Text: Hebrews 2:10-17; Luke 1:39-56
Date: 2010.12.15

Sermon based upon Quempas Carol, stanza 3:
Sing with Mary, virgin mother;
Praise her Son, our newborn Brother;
Angel ranks lead one another,
Hailing Him in holy joy.

In the name of +Jesus. Amen.

A virgin mother. How impossible! A Divine Brother. How much more impossible! And yet both are true, both are real.

It is a miracle when any mother conceives, a divine gift of human life! We often don't think of it in these terms, perhaps because it is so common. “Another child, that's wonderful,” we say, although we aren't often filled with any wonder at all. We know how it happens; there are certain events that must take place, it's clear and it's reasonable. One man and one woman; then, one womb as temporary shelter for the precious life/lives inside it.

But what if the equation were changed? What if only one woman and no man. How strange, how impossible! Man, not in control? How absurd. But should even this give us any wonder? If we would rightly understand that all life is a miracle and divine gift, then nothing, not even a virgin birth, would be absurd. But we don't understand, we disbelieve and we doubt, or rather, we don't see rightly, how God has revealed things to us. We trust our eyes rather than the creator of our eyes. “The common is common and science is the answer.” Repent. For God reveals something wonderful to you. A mystery that is hidden in the foolishness of God's wisdom: A virgin has conceived.

Man is not in control. God has spoken His Word into the ear of a young maiden and she has believed that Word and that Word has taken on her flesh in her womb. A miracle! A divine gift to Blessed Mary, virgin mother; a divine gift to mankind. A gift to you. An impossible gift, comprehended in the same way He was conceived, through faith. 

Through faith alone do we see rightly. And seeing rightly we are filled with joy. He is a baby after all, a precious bundle of joy. But not just any precious bundle of joy; The precious bundle of true Joy. Even “the angel ranks lead one another in hailing Him,” as the Quempas proclaims. Jesus is the Joy of the world, the Joy for the world, brought forth from eternity to deliver the world from any hindrance to Joy. As the writer of the letter to the Hebrews declares, “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect...”

A brother? God, your brother? How mysterious. How foolish. How wonderful! A Divine Brother, the firstborn of all living.

“But not me! Certainly God would not count me as a sibling.” You want proof? Pinch yourself, are you alive, are you human? Then yes, your brother, too. Repent, for it is God's choice, after all; He has made Himself to be born a human, a brother of all humans, including you. It's not your choice. You choose God just as much as you choose your own parents. Repent, and believe, and receive the blessings of what your Brother, Jesus, came to do for you.

The writer of the Hebrews continues: “Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”

Propitiation. Forgiveness. He has been conceived in miracle fashion, just like you, to dispel any fear that might be distracting you from rejoicing in your life in Him. He has come to destroy even death, that the power of death might not live on in you, for the product of sin is death, and He has, by His crucifixion, taken the punishment for your sin. Death is dead. Jesus lives. Your Divine Brother has done it.

See rightly, therefore, and be not distracted: believe. And in that belief, in that faith, rejoice! Rejoice with the angels, rejoice with the brothers. Be not offended in anything, be not afraid of anything. Rejoice in holy joy, and “Sing with Mary, virgin mother; Praise her Son, our newborn Brother!”

In +Jesus name. Amen

[Artwork by Ed Riojas]

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