During the month of December, I’ve prepared a series of daily devotionals to help my church get ready for and celebrate Christmas. I created a booklet (if you’d like a copy, let me know), but I’ll also post devotionals each day on my blog.
Devotional Text: Luke 1:26-38
Gabriel tells Mary, “Rejoice, favored one! The Lord is with you.” The Greek word for “favored one” literally means graced one: “one who is filled with grace.” This reminds us that the only way that Mary can be successful in carrying out God’s plan for her life is through God’s grace.
So… If God gives us the grace we need to answer God’s call for our lives, does that mean that life will be easy? Not at all!
While it’s safe to say that Mary was graced by God as much or more than anyone else who ever lived, notice how profoundly difficult and costly this grace was: Among other things, it meant setting aside lifelong dreams and plans. It meant facing false rumors about conceiving a child out of wedlock. It meant risking execution for adultery—because adultery was a capital crime. It meant risking her own life simply by giving birth—which in this age before modern medicine was dangerous. It meant leaving home and fleeing with her family to Egypt to escape Herod’s murderous jealousy. It meant watching her own son suffer and die on a cross.
Truer words were never spoken than when the prophet Simeon tells Mary, shortly after Jesus’ birth, that “a sword will pierce your own soul, too.”
God may never ask us to set aside all of our hopes and dreams and plans for his sake. God may never ask us to leave the comfort and security of home for his sake. God may never ask us to risk our lives for his sake. But in many ways, God is asking of us the same thing he asked of Mary: to offer ourselves completely to God, to go where he says to go, to do what he says to do.