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Sermon for Advent 4
Sermons on the Gospel Readings: Series II, Cycle BPerceiving The Presence Of God
Sermon by Richard E. Gribble, CSC based on Luke 1:26-38 excerpted from Sermons on the Gospel Readings: Series II, Cycle B (SermonStudio)
Three sisters lived in the forest. The oldest was named Bean Plant, the middle sister was named Marigold, and the youngest was called Lily. It was summer; the weather was beautiful and all who lived in the forest were happy and gay.
      The two older sisters thought themselves to be rather important. Bean Plant attracted lots of attention through the lush and rich beans which she produced so here for the full sermon

Free Children's Sermon for Advent 4

CSSPlus -- Children's Sermon Service ... PlusA Witness for Jesus
Children's sermon by Leah Thompson based on Luke 1:26-38 from CSSPlus (Children's Sermon Service...Plus).
Object: a photo of a bumblebee

Good morning, boys and girls! How are you this morning? (allow answers) Today we're going to talk about things that are impossible. What can you think of that is impossible? (allow answers) There are lots of impossible things. It is impossible for there to be more than 24 hours in a day. It is impossible to lick your elbow. It is impossible to fit an elephant in a car. It is impossible to travel though time....
click here for the rest of the children's sermon

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The Immediate Word
Leah Lonsbury
Dean Feldmeyer

UPS and Mary: A Story of Delivery / Fear Not!

Luke 1:46b-55; Luke 2:1-14 (15-20)

To provide you with a full complement of resources, the next installment of The Immediate Word offers two main articles – one primarily addressing a Fourth Sunday of Advent text, and another focusing on the Nativity.
     For the Advent 4 piece, team member Leah Lonsbury will address the well-known Magnificat text. While on the surface we are drawn in by its joyful tone and its keen insight about God completely upending the human order of things, Leah reminds us that there’s much more going on in this passage -- after all, Mary’s outburst comes from an unwed teenage mother... who despite Joseph's steadfast support fits the stereotype of someone who is a social outcast.
     As Leah points out, there are many different view in our society toward those who are pregnant -- especially as the large-scale introduction of women into the labor force in the last half-century has made women working while they are pregnant a common phenomenon. But as a case argued before the Supreme Court last week indicated, in numerous cases pregnant women still face a significant risk of losing their jobs. Leah examines what this controversy indicates about our attitude toward women, especially those of “lowly” station -- especially in light of Mary’s viewpoint as described in the Advent 4 and Christmas scripture texts
     For Christmas Eve, team member Dean Feldmeyer looks at vv. 10-14 of Luke’s nativity account, in which the angel tells the frightened shepherds: “Do not be afraid... I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people... Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.” At its core, this is the Christmas message -- the birth of the Messiah trumps all of our fears and brings peace to a troubled world. But as Dean suggests, that flies in the face of our current headlines -- which are dominated by fear, and which we use to justify all sorts of harsh measures as we seek to find security. The list goes on and on....
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Good News!

An early movie version of Victor Herbert's romantic operetta
Naughty Marietta has the young and dashing Nelson Eddy sing to an enraptured Jeanette MacDonald:

Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life, at last I've found you.
Ah, at last I've found the secret of it all
... Yes, 'tis love and love alone
The world is seeking....

This charming song expresses what the Christian has known to be true all along. It is love -- and love alone -- that unlocks the mysteries of life. Not the transient and sometimes trashy love of the modern novel but the eternal love of the Advent Christ who wrote the real meaning of love, not in words but in the greatest of deeds, the giving of himself on a cross in order to secure humankind's profoundest need -- the need for forgiveness.

At the conclusion of this epistle to the Romans, the grandest of all Paul's letters, theology turns to doxology as he speaks of the mystery of God's gracious action toward each of us in Christ, our Lord. May these words speak deeply to us today.

To begin with, we note the Mystery Explained. Saint Paul frequently used the word "mystery" in his letters to the early churches. To the Corinthians he wrote of the mystery of the wisdom of God revealed at the Cross (1 Corinthians 2:7); to the same church he spoke of the mystery of that generation of believers who, at the second coming of Christ, will never have to endure the experience of physical death (1 Corinthians 15:51); to the Ephesian church he wrote of the mystery of God's inclusion of the Gentiles in the Gospel of his grace (Ephesians 3:3-6). In each instance, however, he is speaking not so much of that which cannot be understood (our usual perception of the word "mystery"), but rather that which has been clearly revealed and is easily grasped by the Christian mind....
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David Coffin

When does a house become a home for the holidays?

Many people make Advent preparations in hopes that they will be able to celebrate their hard-earned holidays in a "home." However, there is also the risk that the dwelling of relatives, family and friends where the holidays are observed hardly meets that definition. Will these be times that are spent in merely a house that warm bodies occupy for a finite period of time while awaiting the next event in their lives? The texts today point out the differences between a "house" and "home" in rhetoric or the framing of the cherished event of the day. One caveat of such descriptions of "house and home is that one person's home may seem to be merely another person's house and vice versa." The first lesson in 1 Samuel 7:1-11, 16 is God's reply to King David's offer to build the deity a temple....
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Peter Andrew Smith

Finding Your Way

Luke 1:26-38

Kevin came down the stairs and worked his way over to the man sitting by himself in the bleachers. Dan's attention was fixed on the youngsters practicing their skating on the ice but he noticed his son and waved him over.
     "How did you know I was here?"
     "It is Saturday morning at dawn, where else would you be?" Kevin scanned the players on the ice until he found the number sixteen. "Is my little sister still dreaming of playing professionally?"
     Dan smiled. "Julie is nothing if not persistent."...
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The Village Shepherd

Janice Scott

Mystery and Secrets

One of my most relaxing hobbies is the reading of mystery stories. I especially enjoy a well-written plot which keeps me guessing until the very end of the book, although I'm not so keen on plots which seem contrived just to get in a twist at the end....
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CSSPlus (Children's Sermon Service...Plus

Cynthia Cowen

A Witness for Jesus

The Point: We are to be servants of Jesus.

The Lesson: Welcome boys and girls. Thank you for sharing this special time with me.
     This morning I brought my apron. Why do people use an apron? (let children answer) When I am going to do some cooking, especially when I barbecue, I put on my apron....
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Gospel Grams 1 (Ages 5-7)

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Gospel Grams 2 (Ages 8-10)

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