December 23rd (4th Sunday of Advent): “Why Has This Happened to Me?”
Main Text: Luke 1:39-45 (Micah 5:2-5a; Hebrews 10:5-10)
We often feel deserving when good things happen, as if we earned these blessings. When bad things happen, we tend to wonder why this happened to me. What would happen if we reversed that proposition? In our baptismal service, we say that we are born children of a fallen humanity. What this means, is that as members of the human family, we deserve to be abandoned and forsaken by God, in the same we that we have abandoned and forsaken God. Like litter thrown out of a car, it is not simply our personal sin, but the collective sin of all who throw out their trash. We have warped what God has created? We have twisted the relationship and intention God had for all creation. As children of a fallen humanity, we deserve all the evil that comes. The amazing and wonderful thing, is that God never gives up on us. Elizabeth asks the question, “Why has this happened to me?” Elizabeth recognized the pure grace of God showing up with the visit of the pregnant Mary into her house. She and Mary both understood that the incredible gift of God’s presence was not based upon their merit or deserving. The reading from Micah shows how different God’s choices are from ours. He did not choose the biggest or most powerful to save the people of God. He chose the smallest of the clans to send salvation through. The reading from Hebrews affirms that it is not our sacrifices that make us deserving, but God’s unbounding grace through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. What would happen if we would stop wondering why bad things happen, and instead notice and give praise for the unmerited grace of God in our lives? What would happen if we looked at what God has blessed us with and view it with humbleness and awe that this has happened to us? How would that change our relationship with God? How would that change our perspective on life? Why has this happened to me? It is the pure, unmerited grace of God. The Lord is near!