December 21, 2015 (Advent Week 4)

Today’s Readings: Luke 1:26-56

“I am the Lord’s Servant” by Nancy Guthrie

Advent-4.pngIt’s hard to imagine how frightening it must have been for teenage Mary to see an angel and hear him speaking to her. The Bible says that “Gabriel appeared to her and said, ‘Greetings, favored women! The Lord is with you!’ Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. ‘Don’t be afraid, Mary,’ the angel told her, ‘for you have found favor with God!'” (Luke 1:28-30). We can’t help but wonder what the angel looked like and what he sounded like.

As frightening as it must have been to see and hear an angel speaking to her, it must have been even more frightening for Mary to process what the angel was telling her–that she was going to become pregnant, even though she had never been intimate with a man. This would be a scandal in her village. Everyone would whisper about her. She would be shunned and perhaps sent away by her fiance, Joseph, because he would think she had been unfaithful to him. And yet, even though she probably had a million questions and concerns, Mary responded to the angel by welcoming whatever God wanted to do. She said, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true” (Luke 1:38). In a sense she said to God, “I’m yours. You can do anything you want with me,” even though she must have known that this situation would be very hard for her, for Joseph, and for her whole family.

It’s easy to label what we consider “good things” in our lives as gifts from God and to welcome them with gratitude. But when difficult things happen, we don’t look at them as part of God’s good plan for us. Mary’s example shows us we can also welcome those things we would not necessarily label “good,” confident that God’s gifts sometimes come in perplexing and even painful packages. When we belong to God, we know he will use whatever he allows into our lives for good. Somehow, in God’s hands, these things also become gifts of his grace toward us.

It takes faith–faith to rest in who God is and his love for us; faith to be confident that he is doing something good in and through our difficult circumstances–to see the hard things in our lives as gifts of God’s grace.

Prayer

God, give us faith to surrender ourselves to you even in the hard places of life. We want to be your servants. We believe that anything you ask of us will be good and right because you love us. Fill us with faith to trust you with whatever you ask of us.

Reflection

  • What thoughts do you think went through Mary’s mind when the angel was speaking to her?
  • What did Mary believe about God and his promises that allowed her to respond with a song of praise?
  • What difficult things has God asked our family to do or endure? How might these difficult things be God’s gifts to us?

(Devotional credit: Nancy Guthrie – “Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room” )

 

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Author: cpclexington

Lexington & Richmond KY

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