On Angel Watch – Come Blow Your Horn

(Spoken) Here's a good lesson for ya, sinners! Search your hearts!

Sign off with Satan and tune in with heaven!

Where will you stand on the day of glory?

[…On the day that Christ is born?]

Do you hear that playin'? CD (SAY: Yes, we hear that playin'.)

Do you know who's playin'? (SAY: No, who is that playin'?)

Well, it's Gabriel, Gabriel playin'! Gabriel, Gabriel sayin'

"Will you be ready to go When I blow my horn?"

[… Over at Bethlehem where that baby’s born?]

CD

Blow, Gabriel, blow, Come on and blow, Gabriel, blow.

I've been a sinner, I've been a scamp,

But now I'm willin' to trim my lamp, So blow, Gabriel, blow.

Oh, I was low, Gabriel, low. Mighty low, Gabriel, low.

But now [should] I [come to see] the light

I’ll [be saved] that day and I’ll be [saved that] night

So blow, Gabriel, blow!

The only reason to talk about Gabriel this morning is Jesus. Sweet Jesus. Jesus coming. Snow or no snow. Darkness or light. For sinners or saints. Ready or not. Jesus is coming. ‘Coming for you. And coming for me. And Gabriel, old Gabriel is ready to sound the trumpet one more time. His message, captured so well in Cole Porter’s stirring tune, “Here's a good lesson for ya, sinners! Search your hearts! Sign off with Satan and tune in with heaven!

Where will you stand on the day of glory?” Where will you stand? Will you come to the cradle? Will you stay for the cross? Will you gather in the Resurrection Garden? Will you look up to heaven, and not just for that Stunning-Come-Christmas Star-in-the-East? Will you look up for Jesus, Christ-Coming-Again on clouds of glory?

Today, I hope we pray and say, “Blow, Gabriel, blow! Like you did for Elizabeth and Zechariah, what with John the Baptist coming to be born through them! Old. Tired of waiting. When Gabriel blew a message their way, it sounded like a thunderclap and flashed like lightening out the bell of that blessed horn. The very voice of God was in it. And everything impossible became possible. We’ve heard what Elizabeth heard. And what she said. Zechariah was literally struck dumb. But he has nine silent months to consider what to say when the angel’s promise comes to pass. Luke says, filled with the Spirit, he blesses God, who “has visited and redeemed his people. And raised up a horn of salvation for us as he spoke by his prophets. We will be saved from our enemies, and all who hate us [even from the Evil One].” Why? “To perform the mercy promised our fathers. And to remember his holy covenant. [God will be our God; and we, his people.]” What better day than today to listen again for a horn of salvation? Blow, Gabriel, blow! Tell a snow-covered people that heaven is bringing one with the power to turn scarlet sins into snow-white souls! Announce as you did so long ago. Tired spirits like ours and disappointed disciples like us can hear what you proclaim. Somebody’s comin’ who can straighten out the way. ‘Make the rough places smooth. (What are your rough places?) Oh, somebody’s comin’ who can lift up the valleys and the ditches where your life, not just your car’s slipped in (like mine did yesterday). Somebody’s comin’ who can raise us all to a wide, level plain. And best of all, ‘put us on the path to salvation, wholeness, even fellowship and friendship and kinship with God!

Five notes. One per syllable. That’s what we need to hear, just like Mary. Gabriel blowin’, “Do not be afraid!” “Do not be afraid!” “Do not be afraid!” It turns out Mary’s not the only one who has found favor with God! YOU HAVE! (Rept.) The child conceived in Mary has been conceived for you. For me. For our age and for all the ages. ‘Conceived for eternity, ‘this world and the next. A little secret. Friday night, I sat and watched the film, The Nativity. Lots of you have, or will, too. Something surprising struck me. The number of scenes of women and men wailing and weeping. At points, it’s kind of agony central in ancient Judea. I thought about it awhile. I kind of inventoried in my heart the wailing and weeping of the present day. (Hearers and readers… what agonies would you count?) For each count, Gabriel blows those same 5 notes. “Do not be afraid.” When I got up Saturday morning I asked

Beverly, “What do you hear?” She listened a moment. “Quiet,” she said. “Real, deep quiet.” In that moment, it was like God laid a pure white blanket on this anything-but-pure place, this earth, and said, “Don’t be afraid. It will be well. It’s the Most High that will overshadow you now… instead of all that stuff that’s just so, so low down!” All that, in just five solid notes, from the lips of an angel with a message from the lips of God. “You shall bear [and we shall receive] a Son. And like Mary, we too will call the child Jesus!

Blow, Gabriel, blow! In a musical, it makes us want to tap our feet. In real life, it does much more. Mary first sinks to her knees. If Gabriel blows for you, by all means, answer from your knees! “Let it be to me according to your word,” she prays. For Christmas’ sake, and your own, if you hear that trumpet sound, dare to answer in the same way. But listen and look what happens next. “Mary arose in haste and went up into the hill country, to Zechariah and Elizabeth.” She stopped looking within, at her own wants and fears. She gave up looking around to see what everyone else would think as she embraced what God announced by his angel. And she began to climb higher. Not just in altitude but in attitude. It’s five days ‘til Christ is born, yet again. ‘Still time for you to quit your habit/sin of making the world revolve around you. ‘Still time to stop asking what the rest may think. ‘Still time to start lookin’ and climbin’ upward, Christward, Godward. Mary went up. And then she settled-in awhile, with those who were expecting a miracle… just like Mary was. Five days left. Five notes linger on the air. With whom will you wait? I’d say… get close to somebody expectin’ a miracle… like a child in a manger, a Savior and king!

Oh, I was low, Gabriel, low. Mighty low, Gabriel, low.

But now [should] I [come to see] the light

I’ll [be saved] that day and I’ll be [saved that] night

So blow, Gabriel, blow!

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