Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Third Sunday of Advent--December 11



December 11, 2022


Can It Really Be True?

Luke 1:26-38, Matthew 1:18-25


Last week we read and considered how God was working to fulfill the promise made to Israel through the prophet Isaiah 700 years earlier. First the one who would pave the way for the Savior was announced. John would be born to two righteous people who had tried their best to honor God during their lives. However, Zechariah and Elizabeth had felt left out by God since they had been unable to have children. Now they were seemingly at an age that children would not happen only to find out God would bless them with a special son. Their son, John, would prepare the way for the Savior. In spite of the fact they were beyond the normal age for having children, God began his plan to redeem the world in this unlikely way.


This morning we once again read how God is going to bring the Savior to the world. We first read of how God would use a young woman with no special social standing to bear the Savior. An angel visited Mary and explained how it would all come to be. Mary understood how children came about and knew that it was impossible for this to happen before Joseph and her were actually married. As is the case with God, there was a plan that goes beyond what we might think is possible. The son born to Mary would be unlike any baby ever born before and unlike any baby that would be born after. Just as God created the world from nothing, God would cause this baby to be formed and born as only God could do. Mary had questions for the angel about how this could really happen but the angel assured her God’s hand and blessing was upon all these things and they would happen just as she was told. Mary was even told of the first miracle in which her relative Elizabeth was going to have a son that would also be important to God’s plan.


Mary agreed to do whatever the Lord wanted her to do, which then leads us to the man in Mary’s life. An angel spoke to Joseph in a dream. In the dream Joseph was told what was going to happen with Mary, the woman he was pledged to marry. Before the angel spoke to him Mary apparently told Joseph of the visit she had from an angel explaining everything that was about to happen. The fact is Joseph did not believe her. Joseph thought of how to quietly end the engagement. That is when the angel spoke to Joseph in the dream. The angel explained how God was going to bring everything about. The angel then assured Joseph that Mary was a faithful woman who had not done anything wrong. It was important for Mary to have a husband throughout all of this and Joseph had been chosen by God, just as Mary had, to be the Savior’s earthly father as he grew to manhood.


We read that just as Mary agreed to do as she had been instructed by the angel Joseph agreed as well. Earlier I said Mary had no special social standing but the fact is both Mary and Joseph fulfilled the earlier prophecy about the Messiah by having King David as their distant relative.


When we read about all of these things and how everything happened just as God had said it would, I still cannot help but think we miss how miraculous everything that happened really was. We read how all four of these people agreed to everything they were told. And then we see it all happened exactly as God had planned. All of these key people, at some point probably asked the question first of all, “Am I crazy? Is what I think I have been told really going to happen? Nothing like this has ever happened before. Why us, why now?”


Once again, this Sunday put yourself in Mary or Joseph’s shoes. What would you be thinking? Would you ask yourself over and over again, “Can this really be true?”


Christmas is getting closer and closer. We are only two weeks from Christmas day. As we celebrate once again the season of miracles, may we try as best we can to understand how amazing everything God has done and continues to do is. May the stories we have reread the past two Sundays be more than just really neat stories from the Bible. May God help us understand how everything that was done happened because of his love for us and that everything talked about is impossible to have happened without God’s hand being up on the events. These are not everyday events we are reading. May we never lose the wonder of it all. And in a way it makes perfect sense for us to question at least for a minute, “Can it really be true?” Not because we doubt God or have no faith in God, but because what happened is truly only possible with God.


Today we once again see the faithfulness of a young man and a young woman who were willing to do what God asked them to do. In part, because of their faithfulness we celebrate the Christmas season yet again.

Pastor Larry



Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study


A Christmas greeting from the District and greetings from others are on the east bulletin board.


December 14 Board Meeting—current and incoming members 6:15 exec committee; 7:00 commissions; 7:30 board with reorganization to follow


December 21 7:00 pm Christmas Service


Offering plates are in the back of the sanctuary. Thank you for your continued giving!


Donation Box: The Lord’s Storehouse

First Sundays: food donations for food banks


Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362


To keep up on Church of the Brethren news:

Denomination: www.brethren.org/news Sign up for Newsline by clicking link on left side of page.

District: iwdcob.org (click on newsletter link) and on facebook

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Keep in Your Prayers

Family of Leah Flory; Jonah Martina; Jan Bower; Larry Traxler; Michelle West; Carolyn Hirsch; Eli Brunner; Nancy Fansler; Joe Waltz; Doug Larrick; Anna Rose Larrick; Ron & Kathleen Petersen; Anna Gentry Thompson; Louis & Carol Sulwer; Debbie Leibrock; Dorthea Wood; Tina Wilhelm; Tate Sawyer; Bryce Ashenfelter; Mindy Sawyer; Marlene Schultz; Sarah Rudelick; Carl and Wilma Cable; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker;  Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Candy Dobson; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus; healthcare workers and first responders; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; shut-ins; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Hope Welty Library; Florida; Puerto Rico; La Place congregation

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the Hurricane Creek congregation near Mulberry Grove


Church of the Brethren vision statement:

Together, as the Church of the Brethren, we will passionately live and share the radical transformation and holistic peace of Jesus Christ through relationship-based neighborhood engagement. To move us forward, we will develop a culture of calling and equipping disciples who are innovative, adaptable, and fearless.

                        Our Mission Statement:

Love God, grow with others, serve faithfully, reach the lost, find peace.


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