Readings for the 4th Sunday in Advent

Luke 1:26-38; Romans 16:25-27; 2 Samuel 7:1-11,16

The promise of a newborn king! Sunday’s readings lead us to the brink of Christmas by connecting Jesus to the royal house of the great King David.

Americans have a natural distaste for monarchy ever since winning our independence from the British crown back in the 18th century. So we may have trouble relating to the excitement many feel at the news of a royal birth. Keep in mind what a good king did for his people in ancient times. He secured and maintained peace within the realm. He ensured stability and prosperity for the population. A good king sitting on the throne made all the difference! So has Jesus done for us.

The Old Testament lesson just goes to prove that nobody can out-give God. When King David offers Him a fancy new house, the LORD one-ups his offer, promising that David’s royal line will live on forever – and so it has, in the eternal reign of Jesus – Son of David (2 Sam 7).

The Gospel lesson records the angel’s revelation to Mary that she is to be the mother of a king who will sit on David’s throne and rule forever. Mary receives this news with humble acceptance: “Behold, I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be…” (Lk 1).

The Epistle lesson is Paul’s closing doxology to the Christians in Rome. He glorifies God for His eternal qualities – wisdom, knowledge, and power. These are not abstract ideas taken from a textbook. They’ve been proven concretely by the unveiling of Jesus Christ as the Savior of mankind (Rom 16).