A Thrill of Hope: Hope for the Weary | Luke 1:26-56

December 5, 2021 Speaker: Matt Nickel Series: A Thrill of Hope: A Weary World Rejoices | Advent 2021

Topic: Gospel Passage: Luke 1:26–56

Hope for the Weary 


When I graduated college, my parents gifted me a backpacking trip to Europe with my sister.  We had rail-passes which allowed us to basically ride trains for free, and about $1000. That’s  it… for food, lodging, and activities. We had no cell phone, so we had to be extremely frugal for  our money to last. We would travel from city to city and stay in youth hostels which cost like  $25 a night which was like being at camp where you sleep on bunkbeds in a room full of stinky  strangers who had also been traveling. It was a grand adventure. So we packed our large  hiking backpacks full of everything we might need… And I had this great idea that we could  bring rollerblades so we could travel faster in the cities. Side note: I was great at rollerblading,  and my sister was still learning 

What they don’t tell you, is that whatever you pack you have to take with you where ever you  go. You can’t leave it at the hotel, or in your car, it goes with you everywhere. Also, many of the  cities we went to were cobblestone, so rollerblades were not a good choice. So there I was  lugging all of my earthly belongs and 2 sets of rollerblades all over Europe. Why 2 sets? Well…  my wise sister never thought rollerblades were a good idea in the first place so agreed to carry  hers in my pack.  

So the way the trains worked, sometimes you could just hop on a train and the rail pass was  enough, but other times you need to pay a little to reserve your seat. So I remember this one  time, we were in Switzerland hiking in the alps (with rollerblades) with these ridiculously and  unnecessarily heavy bags and I get a migraine. Visual disturbance, nausea, everything… So  

there we are in foreign country, in one of the most beautiful places on earth, but on a hiking trail  hours from any people, with no cell phone, puking my guts out and I can’t go on. Also, there  was stress because we had splurged and reserved tickets for a sleeping car on the midnight  train to go to Spain. As that was our plan for where we were sleeping that night.  

And you know how your mind goes when you feel exhausted, stressed, weak and weary… you  can only think of the worst case scenarios. You will die from lack of medical attention. Freeze  to death when the sun goes down, starve to death from lack of food. A wild animal is going to  eat you. Someone is going o steal your rollerblades… So I lay down on the side of the trail and  pass out. 

You ever feel that way? Tired, exhausted, burdened with a heavy load, stretched to your max,  barely making it, and then one more thing happens. It’s the straw that breaks the camels back. And there is no hope. Maybe you are feeling that way right now? 

Most of us are coming into the Christmas season feeling tired. Tired and worn out. Tired of all  the things we are carrying. I wonder if we were to take off our heavy packs and looked at all the  things that are weighing us down… how many sets of rollerblades are you carrying? Maybe it’s  your finances. Maybe you hate your job. Maybe it’s your kids and being a good parent. Maybe  it is your health. Maybe it is living up the expectation of others, maybe you are carrying a load  of guilt, maybe tension in your marriage, with your parents, or your friends.  

So it’s Christmas time… and you should have hope. Today I’m going to give you some reason  why we should have hope, but let’s be honest, me getting up here and telling you why you  should have hope is not going to lift your burden, if anything it might pile on some guilt for you. 

I think as Christians we carry too much guilt. We know we should have more hope, have more  joy, have more peace… but what about all the rollerblades we carry??? 

Read the whole story of Mary.. 

Luke 1:26-56 

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee  named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of  the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and  said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly  troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might  be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found  favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,  and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son  of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father  David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom  there will be no end.” 

34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” 

35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the  power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will  be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old  age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was  called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said,  “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”  And the angel departed from her. 

39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town  in Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted  Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in  her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed  with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your  womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should  come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears,  the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that  there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” 

46 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my  Savior, 48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. 

    For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49 for he who is  mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 50 And his mercy is  for those who fear him 

    from generation to generation.

51 He has shown strength with his arm; 

    he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; 

52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones 

    and exalted those of humble estate; 

53 he has filled the hungry with good things, 

    and the rich he has sent away empty. 

54 He has helped his servant Israel, 

    in remembrance of his mercy, 

55 as he spoke to our fathers, 

    to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” 

56 And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home. 

  1. We have hope because God sees us 


Luke 1:46–49 

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. 

For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 

for he who is mighty has done great things for me, 

    and holy is his name. (ESV) 

He sees her situation  

Oddly enough as Mary begins her sermon she does not seem stressed or burdened. Ok, so  why is Mary not stressed out? Let’s think about the situation that Mary finds her self in. She  lives in Nazareth… a backwoods village 6 miles away from the nearest road. She is 14 years  

old, poor, uneducated, unmarried, no rights, no power, and now she probably freaking out  about being pregnant outside of marriage… which means she could be killed for that. Her life  plans, goals, and dreams have suddenly been hijacked. And she is given the task of being a  mom to the Savior of the world. She has a lot to process… 

Also, she has just traveled 100 miles on a dangerous road, with her belongings, may have  taken her 2 weeks… and she arrives at her cousins house, exhausted.  

She says God has looked on her humble estate. This is not humble in a good way. This is  humble as in poor, broken, weak, etc. One of the things that is bringing her hope is that God  sees her. And he knows her situation. He knows all about her family situation… we never hear  about her family, they may have rejected her. He knows her childhood traumas, he knows her  fears, her worries, and her failures. He truly sees her for who she actually is.  

He sees her sin  

That word “humble” actually refers to spiritual poverty, to non-holiness… The Catholics like to  think of Mary as sinless, but this word indicates that Mary understood she was a broken sinner  like the rest of us. It is important for us to remember that God knows us at our worst, and he  wants to call us blessed and do great things for us.  

He sees her value 

When God looks at us, he doesn’t just see how broken and weak we are. I think we often focus  too much on that. God looks at us like we look at our kids. I am always amazed at their intellect 

and creativity. There are times when my kids make a piece of art, and I am amazed and they  can do. In fact all 3 of my kids can draw better than me. When God looks at us he sees us for  who he made us to be. He made us in his image, meaning we are full of his qualities, we have  intellect, creativity, power, and beauty. We have worth and value because God made us. Our  value does not come from what we do, or how big of a burden we can carry. It makes me think  of 

Psalm 8:4–6 

What is man that you are mindful of him, 

    and the son of man that you care for him? 

[5] Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings 

    and crowned him with glory and honor. 

[6] You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; 

    you have put all things under his feet, 

Think of all the things we have accomplished as humans. Electricity, cars, airplanes, cell  phones, space travel, solar power, music, art, food, entertainment… When we do these things,  we are displaying the characteristics of God.  

When we are weary and worn out, we begin to feel alone and isolated. We wonder, does God  see me? Do I even matter? Does he even care? Ever felt that way?  

You have value to God. You were made in his image. You deserve glory and honor as a human.  We have hope because we know that God sees us. He knows us. He understands our  situation, he sees our circumstances. He knows of family situation. He understands our  childhood traumas. The God of the universe is interested in us. That is a wild thought.  

You matter to God. Your problems and burdens matter to God. You matter to God. When you  speak, God hears. When you are frustrated, God sees. That brings us hope.  

  1. We have hope because God is rich in mercy 

Luke 1:50 

And his mercy is for those who fear him 

    from generation to generation. (ESV) 

Luke 1:54 

He has helped his servant Israel, 

    in remembrance of his mercy, (ESV) 


When we are worn out and tired, we begin to doubt God’s character. Is he even good? And  Mary is clear that God has mercy from generation to generation. God does not run out of  mercy. The word mercy really emphasize the emotional aspect of God. This of God as one who  as empathy. God feels for us. His heart goes out to us. It is His nature. It stirs him to action. He  treats us kinder than we deserve. When we look at examples of Jesus in the New Testament he  is often moved to compassion for people. 

Matt 14:14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and  healed their sick.  

Luke 7:13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” 

Mark 6:34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them,  because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many  things.  

When we are facing difficult circumstances, feeling worn out, and hopeless… God is not  standing there shaking his head in disappointment…judging us. His heart is aching for us. He  is rich in mercy.  

One of the core things we need when we are weary and burdened is to know that someone  sees us and feels for us. When our friends are struggling and hurting, we cannot fix their  problems but we can see them, we can feel for them. My kids when they are hurt, sad, or  frustrated… they just want to me to see them and feel their pain with them. God does this for  us. 

But also.. His mercy moves him to action. In fact he demonstrated his mercy by giving us what  we need most. 

Eph 2:4,5,7  

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved  us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ… so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus 

If you have never put your trust in Jesus, then you are carrying a weight of guilt and shame that  can be crippling. Don’t leave here without offloading that and trading with Jesus. He will take  the burdens of our sin, we get his perfection.  

If you have trusted Jesus, but are carrying the weight of guilt and shame. Jesus reminds us  there is no condemnation in Jesus. He removes our sin as far as the East is from the West. He  invites you today to let go the burden of those things as they are already paid for. 

  1. We have hope because God can do hard things  

Luke 1:51-53 

He has shown strength with his arm; 

he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; 

52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones 

and exalted those of humble estate; 

53he has filled the hungry with good things, 

and the rich he has sent away empty. 

I think when we are tired and worn out…everything feels hard. We need someone else who can  do the hard things. But how did we get here? I actually believe we get burned out often  because we do too much. We can accomplish a lot in a day, and often times we don’t listen to  our boundaries and we overextend ourselves.  

We are often carrying someone else’s rollerblades. We try to be responsible for someone else’s  happiness. Or be there just in case they need it. We agree to do things we do not want to do  and things that create unhealthy in ourselves. We wear ourselves out trying to live up to 

someone else’s expectations. We need to remember we are not God. We do not have  unlimited strength. We do not have unlimited time. All the doing does not make us more  valuable to God. We need to stop trying to be God. It will never work.  

Isaiah 40:27–31 

Have you not known? Have you not heard? 

The LORD is the everlasting God, 

    the Creator of the ends of the earth. 

He does not faint or grow weary; 

    his understanding is unsearchable. 

[29] He gives power to the faint, 

    and to him who has no might he increases strength. 

[30] Even youths shall faint and be weary, 

    and young men shall fall exhausted; 

[31] but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; 

    they shall mount up with wings like eagles; 

they shall run and not be weary; 

    they shall walk and not faint. (ESV) 

God invites us to stop the madness. He alone is God. He can do hard things. Actually he can  do impossible things. When the angel comes to Mary, he tells her that with God all things are  possible. So we bring to God our burdens, our stresses, the impossible things. The cancer, the  job loss, the financial debts, the broken marriage and we ask him to do the impossible…  because he can do impossible things. We can cry out and plead with God, because he can  change the equation. 

Also… God scatters the proud, brings down the mighty and he sends away the rich. It is often  our pride that enslaves us. We need to prove we are good enough, right enough, strong  enough. We refuse to be weak or depend on others. And we drive ourselves to the edge of  exhaustion. God says, don’t be too proud to get help from me. When we admit we are needy,  hungry, and poor. God is ready to meet us in our need.  

Think on this for a bit. He can have hope in any situation, because with God all things are  possible. So I ask you, what burdens are you carrying. What feels difficult in your life? What  impossible situation are you dealing with? Are you too proud to come to God? Too proud to  ask Him for help? What would it feel like to not carry those things around? 

  1. We have hope because God speaks to us 

Luke 1:54-55 

He has helped his servant Israel, 

in remembrance of his mercy, 

55 as he spoke to our fathers, 

to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” 

Mary says we can have hope because God speaks us. God’s doesn’t just help us by doing  miracles. We do not go to God as a genie and promise to do good things if he would just obey  us. Can God do miracles? Absolutely. And He already has if he has caused us to believe in him.  God get’s to decide what miracles he wants to do. He sees the big picture. He makes those  choices. 

So how does God help us? I mean not just in a theoretical or theological way, but how can we  be weary and worn out one minute and then be refreshed and relaxed the next? God is inviting  us to do just that. God helps us in a different way… He speaks to us. Do you hear Him? I  always wished that God spoke more audibly. That would make it easier to know what he has for  us. I think a lot of it comes from not listening to God. 

Matthew 11:28–30  

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you  will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (ESV) 

As we look around at the Christmas decorations and see the lights on the tree.. God is calling  us to come and spend time with Him. Yes. Stop doing what you need to do and just sit with  God. Be present with him. Turn your attention to him. Listen to what he might be saying to you.  

And he says all who labor and are heavy laden. That’s all of us. Spend some time detangling  yourself from your burdens. Why are your shoulders so tight? What problems are you carrying.  Is it guilt? Is it feelings of unworthiness? Is it financial stress? Relational stress? Family  pressure? Things that have happened to you… As we come to God, we lay down the things  that are wearing us out and we rest. We relax. We put our feet up. We stop.  

When we trade yokes with Jesus our burdens get light. Then we turn from our burdens and we  turn our attention to God. He speaks to us. He encourages us. He refreshes us. Gives us just  what we need. Rest for our souls.  

This verse Jesus speaks of his own heart as gentle and lowly.  

“We are encouraged to bring our mess to Jesus because he will know just how to  receive us. He doesn’t handle us roughly. He doesn’t scowl and scold. He doesn’t lash  out, the way many of our parents did… he get’s down with us, he puts his arm around us,  he deals with us in the way that is just what we need. He deals gently with us”. - Gentle  and Lowly - Dane Ortland  

As I wrap this up. We are going to take 3 minutes to meet with God and meditate on this  scripture. I am going to have everyone close their eyes and I will slowly read these verses and I  invite you to turn away from your stress and burdens and turn towards God.