I'm just jotting this down as I don't want to forget this....
This is part of the sermon;
"Zechariah was High Priest in the year that Jesus was born. Before the Romans came along, the High Priest kept his office for some time, but the Romans decided that he should be changed every year.
The punishment for becoming pregnant outside marriage was stoning, and it was the High Priest who pronounced the sentence.
Mary's cousin was married to the High Priest of the time; when Mary went to visit Elizabeth, she was also visiting the man who would decide whether she should be stoned to death... the proof of God's part in all this was the fact that Elizabeth, long past the age of child-bearing, was also pregnant, and that Zechariah had had the experience n the Temple."
The rest of the sermon concerned the contents of a giant cracker; the words Love, Joy, Peace, and maybe more, but I couldn't see and didn't listen properly at that point.
Regarding Peace; the Greek word translated as "give" in the phrase
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled ...." John 14:27
is a word with a legal meaning connected with "bequeath", which we associate with things left, or given in a will.
I missed most of the rest of the sermon as I was "pondering these things in my heart". The "peace" bit came to mind as I was working out how to respond to total failure of the cooker partway through cooking the Christmas Meal later on! (We took everything round to my father and finished it off there...)
Christmas was a Mad Day anyway, with visiting my mother who was entirely pissed off at being given cauliflower cheese for Christmas Dinner (she is on "soft diet", but could actually have managed most of the Christmas Dinner - I don't know why someone didn't choose it for her. But that's something for another day). So she was crabby and cross - which is her current default state a lot of the time at the moment. Smoked salmon sandwiches at dinner time, and turkey sandwiches and stollen at tea time helped, but life isn't going her way at the moment. She's not managing to be at peace with the things she cannot change, and save her energy for the things she can change.
Whoah! The world isn't giving us peace at the moment - I am constantly amazed that I feel so even-keeled and, dare I say, untroubled, by what may, or may not, lie ahead. John 14;27. "And that you can tie to" as Mrs Susan Baker says in the "Anne of Green Gables" books.