SERMON TITLE: “Leaping for Joy”
SERMON TEXT: Luke 1:39-56
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: December 22, 2019, at First UMC
On Wednesday morning, Donna Quiroga popped into my office with a plate of yummy Christmas cookies. Many of you don’t have any idea who Donna is because she’s been away from us for an entire year, receiving chemotherapy and radiation treatments for her cancer. Her past 12 months have been consumed by trips to the hospital, unpleasant side effects, and seclusion from the public in order to protect her fragile immune system. Even as Donna appeared in my office on Wednesday, with her newly-grown curly hair, she was wearing a facemask to keep herself safe. And, yet, in spite of all that, Donna was expressing joy that she had felt well enough to bake some cookies and deliver some holiday cheer to others.
Throughout this Advent season, we’ve been lighting the candles on the wreath and reading rituals about hope, peace, and love. Today’s theme is joy—which is also expressed in our scripture reading from Luke, chapter one. There we see young Mary visiting her older relative Elizabeth, who was also carrying a child. Women of deep faith, they had a growing sense that the children in their wombs were going to play an important role in God’s plan of salvation. The future of all people would be brighter because of the babies they were carrying. Their hopeful belief was so strong, in fact, that when Elizabeth’s baby gave her a kick, she exclaimed that the child inside her was leaping for joy.