Experience Mary

 

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The Gospel Reading.

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Luke 1 

26In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.31You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
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Mary Receives a Special Message. 

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Luke 1

26In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.31You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?
35The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be calledthe Son of God. 36Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37For no word from God will ever fail.”
38“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

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Zechariah Questions the Message

[info_box] Luke 1

11Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
18Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”
19The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”
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Another One Who Questioned

[info_box] Isaiah 6

1In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LordAlmighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
4At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
5“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LordAlmighty.”
6Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”
8Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
9He said, “Go and tell this people:

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The Gospel Before the Gospel

[info_box] Luke 1

 44As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.45Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
Mary’s Song
46And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
50His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”
56Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.
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The 1 Corinthians 13 Confession

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Lord, we confess that we have been inpatient.  We have been unkind.  We are spiteful, jealous and resentful of one another.  We brag on ourselves – on our promotions, possessions and our prosperities.  We are full of pride, offensiveness and we are self-centered.  We are easily annoyed, frustrated and unsatisfied.  We keep a count on every person who has ever treated us in a way we should have not been treated.  We find pleasure in revenge, selfishness, and in hurtful words towards the ones we are meant to love.  We delight and feel refreshed in lies, gossip and telling only our side of the story.  We only protect ourselves, we only trust our own hearts, we put hope in money, stocks and certainty.  We only want strive and endure within situations that follow our own will and in which we expect to get repaid.  We fail in our love towards you and towards others.

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Faith Of Theology :

Stealing Christmas Part 2: The Mistletoe

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Mistletoe is another one of those Christmas plants with a supposedly Christian backstory. If you hang around botanists, or Latin scholars, you might hear it referred to as lignum sanctae crucis, “wood of the sacred cross.”

Music of the Week: FUTURE OF FORESTRY

Advent Christmas EP Volume 3

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Continuing with their tradition of creating modern interpretations of timeless Christmas carols and hymns, Future of Forestry has released Advent Christmas EP Volume 3, which successfully blends old with new in a truly unique setting.

The EP features alternative renditions of some of the most classic and revered Christmas songs, including: Silent Night, Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring, Carol of the Bells, O Come All Ye Faithful and Still Still Still.

Vol. 3 is designed to be a cohesive piece that merges seamlessly with the EPs that were released in years past. With epic sound, creative interpretation, unique instrumentation and traditional values, this Advent EP, like the ones before it, hope to honor and enhance this most holy of seasons.

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