Project Description

Advent 4C
Zep 3:14-8 / Phil. 4:4-7 /Luke 3:10-8

Once upon a time,
back in the days when I was an Obstetrician—
I was soundly sleeping one night.

Not a creature was stirring
when my phone rang.

I answered the phone to hear a
familiar voice of one of the Emergency Room
physicians at the hospital on the other end.

He told me an interesting story.

A young woman,
kind of a big woman,
had come into the Emergency Room
complaining of stomach pains.

And as the work up in the ER progressed,
the cause of her stomach pains became evident.

Her pains were contractions—
she was in the early stages of labor.

She had presented to the ER
having no idea what so ever that
she was pregnant.

I had only read about such cases—
kind of skeptical that someone could
carry a full-term child without knowing about it.

But after getting up in the middle of the night—
going into the hospital and interviewing the patient—
I was convinced—
as was everyone else,
that she really had no idea she was pregnant.

A few hour later,
she was the mother of healthy baby boy.

Now, of course, that’s usually not how it happens.

The vast majority of pregnant women
know very early that they are pregnant and
are calling to get an appointment with
an Obstetrician as soon as possible.

One of my good friend’s wife is pregnant.

And what has been a pure joy for me—
and I’ve been blessed to
witness it thousands of times—
is how much their lives change
before—before—
the baby is ever born.

To see the impact—
the power that an un-born child has
on the couple—
and on close family and friends.

The very day that my friend
found out that his wife was pregnant—
I was the first one they called.

They wanted instruction—
Medical instruction—
Things had changed all of a sudden—
there was a baby on the way.

They were getting ready to go on a big trip—
and because the wife was pregnant—
they knew that their trip would have to be different—
there was a baby on the way.

Was it OK to fly?

Should they look for a pharmacy and
start taking pre-natal vitamins?

Could she have a glass of wine with her dinner?

If she got a headache, what medicine could she take?

What if she got sick in the plane?

The questions were endless—
Things were different all of a sudden—
There’s a baby on the way.

The very moment—
The very moment they found out she was pregnant—
Their lives—
Their concerns—
Their priorities—
Their hearts changed.

Changed in an instant.

And their lives—
and concerns—
and priorities—
and hearts have continued to change as
the pregnancy has now progressed to
the half-way point.

The father-to-be checks on the
Mother-to-be a little more often.

He even cooks dinner every now and then.

And there’s the nursery to start getting ready.

And they think about the future
in a different way now.

There will be another person they are responsible for—
and all the financial obligations that a
new child brings with him or her.

There will be doctor bills—
and child care bills—
and college tuition.

And they talk about what kind of parents they will be—
They want what’s best for their child—
And they know what an influence they will be.

All of this change—
change in priorities—
change in plans—
change in lifestyle—
even before the child is delivered.

There’s a baby on the way.

What a joy for me to witness.

The joy and hope that this unborn child brings
to everyone is palpable—
it’s electric.

I was invited to a family gathering this past week—
and what do you think much of the conversation was about?

“Maybe we’ll have the baby before the Derby!!!”

“This time next year, we’ll have another stocking to put up—
and it’ll go right in the middle—
right in the middle of the mantle.”

“We’ve got a convention trip planned—
But I’m not missing the birth of my grandbaby.”

A baby’s coming!!!

Joy and hope!!!
Joy and hope!!!

A baby’s coming!!!

You can see what I’m trying to do with us.

We’re at the end of Advent—
and there’s a baby coming!!!

He’s coming soon—
And He belongs to everyone.

It’s the Christ-child!!!
It’s the Messiah!!!
It’s the Savior!!!

And it’s not a stretch—
It’s not hard to see that Advent is
like this prenatal period—
this pre-delivery period—
this time before the child arrives—
for us Christians.

Because this child is on the way—
Our lives change—
Our concerns change—
Our priorities change—
Our hearts change!!!

Even before He is born—
Even before He comes.

The impact—
the power that this unborn child has is incredible.

We see that in today’s pre-Christmas Gospel.

The Christ-child has quite the impact—
even in the womb of His Blessed Mother.

Elizabeth, now miraculously pregnant
with John the Baptist,
and her husband, Zechariah,
live in a little town called Ein Karem.

It’s about 4 miles west of Jerusalem.

Mary is also miraculously pregnant,
living in Nazareth—
about 80 miles North.

And when the Angel Gabriel asks Mary if
she would be the Mother of Our Lord,
he told her that her relative, Elizabeth,
was six months pregnant.

Mary responds to this incredible news and
goes to help Elizabeth during the
last weeks of her pregnancy.

So Mary travels from Nazareth to the
hill country of Judea—
to Ein Karem.

But Mary is bringing much more
than just her love and assistance to Elizabeth.

Mary is bringing Jesus—
Bring Jesus is her womb—
Bringing the unborn Jesus.

And look at the impact even
the unborn Jesus has.

When Mary walks in and greets Elizabeth,
that’s when John the Baptist leaps
for joy in Elizabeth’s womb.

When Mary walks in with Jesus—
Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit.

Even before He is born
Jesus has a powerful effect on people.

And because the Christ-child is on the way—
our lives change—
our concerns change—
our priorities change—
our hearts change!!!

Even before He is born.

Things are different from the
moment we know that He’s on the way.

Wow, since I’ve become a Christian—
Since I’ve been preparing for
the coming of the Messiah—
my life has dramatically changed.

It needs to change more—
but it’s definitely changed.

I bet yours has too!!!

How I spend my time—
How I spend my money—
How I see other people—
How I try to act—
How I try to interact with others!!!
How I see the future!!!

All changed—
the Messiah is on the way!!!

You see, Advent is the season of the rest of our lives—
our earthly lives.

The rest of our time on earth is
spent waiting on the coming of Jesus—
the coming of the Messiah!!!

That’s what Advent means—
“Coming”

The rest of our lives an Advent—
it’s like waiting on a baby during pregnancy.

Everything changes:
Our concerns—
Our priorities —
Our plans—
Our lifestyle—
Our hearts!!!

And the Joy and the Hope it brings!!!

The Messiah is coming!!!
The Savior is coming!!!

Get ready!!!
Get ready!!!

Holy Spirit 12/22-23/2018