As I write, it is two days from the annual celebration of “The Annunciation,” so I bring you a children’s sermon on Luke 1:26-38.
“The what?” you ask.
“What’s an Annunciation?” you ask.
Well not many Protestant congregations mark the festive day, but it’s actually a big deal. “Annunciation” means “announcement” — meaning the day when the Angel Gabriel came and announced to the Virgin Mary that she was going to have a baby.
Though the actual calendar day of Jesus’ birth is unknown, for many centuries we’ve celebrated it on December 25th. Nine months before Jesus’ birth is the day Mary got pregnant. So, by simple arithmetic, we celebrate the Annunciation on March 25. Only one Gospel records the scene, so this is a children’s sermon on Luke 1:26-38.
Chances are you came here looking for children’s sermon on the Gospel assigned for the fifth Sunday of Lent. I wrote one on that text three years ago, last time Year A came around. You can find it here, and you can find a Monday Meditation on that text here. (And if you’d like to see a Monday Meditation on Luke 1:26-38, wherein one explores why this story is a Really Big Deal, click here.)
This text also comes up on the 4th Sunday in Advent in “Year B” of the Revised Common Lectionary, so hopefully people will find it by searching when that season rolls around.
A Children’s Sermon on Luke 1:26-38
Good morning, kids! Thanks for coming up to hear the children’s sermon. I am so glad that you are here in worship today.
This week’s Gospel story tells about a day Christians call “the Annunciation.” The Annunciation is when Mary found out that she was going to have a baby named Jesus. Each year lots Christians celebrate the Annunciation on March 25.
Maybe you are wondering why we celebrate the Annunciation on March 25. Well if any of you have a little brother or little sister, you know that for a long time the baby lived in your mommy’s tummy. Usually a baby is in its mommy’s tummy for nine months.
You probably know that we celebrate Jesus being born on December 25 each year. That’s Christmas.
March 25 is exactly nine months before Christmas. So March 25 is the Annunciation.
This morning’s story from the Gospel tells us how Mary got the news.
The Virgin Mary
Mary was older than you, but she was still probably quite young. She was probably a teenager. She’d never had a boyfriend, because back then people didn’t have boyfriends or girlfriends. Their moms and dads found someone for them to get married to. That’s just how it worked!
Mary’s mom and dad had found the man who would be her husband. His name was Joseph. He was a carpenter. The wedding had not happened yet, but it was all decided.
Mary had surely met Joseph. But they probably didn’t know each other very well yet. They probably had never even been alone together.
The Angel Gabriel
Well, one day Mary was in her family’s home. Let’s picture her sitting on the living room, reading a book. She was all alone. It was a quiet afternoon. She was humming a little tune, and reading away.
Then, all of a sudden, the room was filled with the brightest light Mary had ever seen!
All of a sudden there was someone there in her family’s house!
She looked up and it was a total stranger right in her living room!
The stranger was glowing with light, as bright as sunlight!
Even his clothes were shining with light!
Now, I wonder what you would do if, all of a sudden, there was a brightly glowing stranger inside your house. I know what I would probably do. I would scream.
So let’s say together what Mary probably said when she saw the stranger. One, two three,
But then, the stranger spoke, and he spoke with the kindest, gentlest, most joyful voice you’ve ever heard.
“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” he said, “My name is Gabriel. I’m an angel. I stand before God and take messages to his people. He wants you to know he thinks you are terrific!”
“Wow!” said Mary. “You came all the way from heaven just to tell me I’m terrific?”
“Oh, right,” said Gabriel, “I also have some really good news for you!”
“Okay,” said Mary. “What’s the good news?”
“You’re gonna have a baby!” said Gabriel.
“What?” said Mary. “No, I’m not marred yet. I hardly even know Joseph and—”
“Joseph’s not going to be the dad!” said Gabriel. “See, it’s a big surprise!”
“Are you sure this is good news?” asked Mary.
“Absolutely!” said Gabriel. “It’s good news for the whole world. God’s going to be the baby’s daddy. You’re going to call him Jesus. He’s going to be the Messiah you’ve all been waiting for. He’ll be your king forever!”
“Wow,” said Mary. “That does sound like good news for the world. But it’s pretty complicated for me.”
“I know, right?” said Gabriel. “There’s never been such an important job. And God chose you to do it. Well? What do you say?”
“What do you mean?” asked Mary.
Gabriel looked very serious. “God wants to know if you’re willing to take the job,” he said.
“Wait—you mean I don’t have to do it?” she asked.
“Well, no,” said Gabriel. “We all really hope you will. But God doesn’t force people to do his will. It’s going to be hard, you should know that. But you’re the one God chose to be his son’s mom. Will you do it?”
Mary thought about it for a long while.
Gabriel stood there, patiently waiting, watching.
Then a peaceful look came over her face. Then she began to look very, very serious.
Having to choose made it even harder.
Then she looked Gabriel in the eye and said words that changed the world. “I am God’s servant,” she said. “Tell God I’m willing. Let God’s will happen.”
I wonder what kinds of worries and questions Mary felt when she had to decide?
I wonder what kinds of hopes and plans Mary had to change because God chose her?
I wonder what you’ll say when God asks you to do something some day?
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