St. Matthew's Episcopal Church Maple Glen, Pennsylvania

Readings and Reflections for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

 Micah 5:2-5a

 Hebrews 10:5-10

 Luke 1:39-45, (46-55)

Dear Friends,

The prophet Micah describes the coming of a new ruler from Bethlehem, who will restore Israel and “stand and feed his flock.”

Luke tells the story of Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth.  At the sound of Mary’s voice, the babe in the womb of Elizabeth stirs with joy, and this is received by her as a sign that Mary’s own unborn child is “the Lord.”  Elizabeth’s response become the “Hail Mary” so well known in Catholicism, and Mary’s reply the equally famous “Magnificat”, in which song Mary rejoices in the God who uplifts the lowly and humbles the proud.

The Letter to the Hebrews describes how Christ’s coming into the world fulfills and replaces the former temple system of sacrificial offerings.  Jesus offers himself, once for all, fulfilling God’s will in a way that previous offerings could never do.

Comment:  As a Christian I look “back” to the law and the prophets and see their hope for a coming ruler fulfilled in a completely unexpected way by the birth of Jesus. This way of “looking back” is taken by Luke, who tells the birth story of Jesus from the vantage of two humble women of no apparent significance.  The Messiah comes not from royalty, but the common people!  This in itself tells us much about how God chooses to dwell among us.  The Letter to the Hebrews also looks back to see how this Jesus, in his life of obedience to the Father, fulfills the law and replaces the temple ritual.  May we continue to see how God works in such unexpected, simple ways, among unlikely people -people such as you and me.

David S. Robinson, Rector
Saint Matthew’s Episcopal Church
Maple Glen, PA 19002