Advent Devotional: Week Three - Tuesday
Scripture Reading: Luke 1:26-38 (HCSB)
In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you.” But she was deeply troubled by this statement, wondering what kind of greeting this could be.
Then the angel told her: Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Now listen: You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will call His name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.
Mary asked the angel, “How can this be, since I have not been intimate with a man?”
The angel replied to her: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the holy One to be born will be called the Son of God. And consider your relative Elizabeth—even she has conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called childless. For nothing will be impossible with God.”
“I am the Lord’s slave,” said Mary. “May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel left her.
Christianity in America has a great up hill battle to fight in order to endear itself in the hearts of Modern Man. Ever since Columbus and crew put their lives on the line, sailed the open seas and discovered the “New World”; ever since immigrants gripped muskets to wrestle America from the grip of one of the Supreme powers in the world in the Revolution; ever since cowboys, gold-diggers and explorers pushed westward in search of new lands and prosperity in the Old West, America’s had 2 great mantras: Sinatra’s: “I did it my way!” and “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps”, ironically however this is the furthest mindset from the Biblical gospel possible.
After 1000s of years of planning, prophecy and patience, God (not us) puts His plan into motion: the one and only way to Salvation – the Incarnation of Jesus.
I cannot fathom the fear and confusion Mary must have experienced in this moment. Angelic visitations alone aren’t as common as one my think, even in the pages of Scripture.
One of the only two named angels in all of Scripture is sent by God Himself to proclaim God’s plan to Mary. Note: not to a king; not a synagogue leader; not a prince or a pope, but a precious young girl whose faith in her God in this passage rivals some of the mightiest male “heroes” in all of Scripture.
When over and again the men of Israel doubted God’s faithfulness to deliver them into the promised land and defend them from their enemies, when various men and women doubted God’s faithfulness in granting them promised children, when priests and scribes began to even doubt the coming of their promised Messiah, God came to a girl who said, “I am the Lord’s slave, may it be to me according to your word”.
These are words Jonah failed to say at first when God ordered him to preach in pagan Nineveh, these are words Moses failed to say at first when God ordered him to lead the Israelites out of bondage, these are words we often fail to say when confronted by God’s written and proclaimed Word for our lives.
Yet there are very few other moments in all of scripture that display as much faith and grace and worship in the God of Heaven and in His way of salvation than in the acceptance of the good news embodied in the coming of this “Son of the Most High”.
Do you trust God and His ways as faithfully as Mary does in our passage? What fearful things does God’s Word call us to? What things might have frightened Mary due to the Angel’s announcement?
What effect would an unwed (probably teen) pregnancy have on Mary’s life, her family’s life, and her engagement to Joseph? What lies and ridicules can you imagine Mary would have faced for her claims of a virginal pregnancy by God the Holy Spirit?
Prayer: Father, may we have less concern of the fear of others, less concern of the fear of hardships, less concern of the fear of our own unknown futures that you have planned for us and may we be more like this lovely young lady. May our own hearts echo her words. We are the Lord’s servants; let it be to us according to Your Word.
Advent Singing: Savior of the Nations, Come [alternate verses in the video]
Saviour of the nations, come, Virgin's Son, make here thy home! Marvel now, O heav'n and earth, That the Lord chose such a birth. Not of flesh and blood the Son, Offspring of the Holy One; Born of Mary ever blest God in flesh is manifest. Wondrous birth! O wondrous child Of the virgin undefiled! Though by all the world disowned, Still to be in heav'n enthroned. From the Father forth he came And returneth to the same, Captive leading death and hell, High the song of triumph swell! Thou, the Father's only Son, Hast o'er sin the vict'ry won. Boundless shall thy kingdom be; When shall we its glories see? Praise to God the Father sing, Praise to God the Son, our King, Praise to God the Spirit be Ever and eternally.