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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, December 7, 2019  

Today’s Scripture Reading | Luke 1:26–38

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 whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 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 ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to 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 holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her. (NRSV)

How do you imagine Mary? If you are like me, you tend to think of Mary around Christmas and maybe a little at Easter. I think of manger scenes and donkeys. I picture Mary and Joseph on the way to Bethlehem, with a bright star up in the sky. Mother of Jesus.

I believe God puts people and situations in our lives, and it’s up to us to make the most of them. So think about Mary a little more deeply. She encounters an angel, Gabriel, who tells her something unbelievable, even impossible. How in the world can this be? It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t fit with the reality that is Mary’s life—a poor, unwed virgin from a country town.

But somehow Mary listens. Somehow she overcomes fear, and the words get through to her. She is open to making the most of the impossible situation that has been presented to her.

Mary is so much more than the picture of Jesus’ mother on the Christmas card. Mary is a role model for Christianity. She is called to something that may seem impossible to her, and she is open to God’s call. She accepts that God has found favor with her, and she has the faith to believe that God’s words will be fulfilled.

O, that I would be so faithful!

God, who can do the impossible, thank you for Mary. Thank you that she was willing to listen and that she had the faith to believe that your words would be fulfilled. Help us to be open to the ways you are speaking to us. Help us have the faith to believe that your words will be fulfilled in our own lives. Amen.

Written by Anthony Hipp, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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