Today is Wednesday, December 20th
Light two purple candles and the pink candle.
As we get closer to Christmas, we focus our attention on the characters in the story:
What do you know about Mary? What was she like?
Read Luke 1:26-28
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” [ESV]
Gracious God, You have done so much for us and we so little in return
You ask for humility and we are often a proud people
You ask for willingness and we are often a stubborn people
You ask for repentance and we are often a deaf people
You ask for service and we are often a busy people
Gracious God, You want the best for us
Teach us obedience, grant us forgiveness
That we, like Mary, might be Your willing servants. Amen.
Personalize it. How can your thoughts and these readings and prayers help you worship fully, give more, spend less and love all.
My name is Cameron and I’ve been at Christ St. Paul’s for 26 of my 30 years on Earth.
What do I know about Mary? And what was she like?
I very much imagine Mary like so many others must also imagine her. You always see her as a very young woman with long, dark brown hair, dressed in some sort of blue garments of her time period, and holding a baby wrapped in various white cloths. I know she was a virgin to be married to Joseph when the Angel of the Lord came to her to tell her she was with child. And I cannot begin to imagine the fear in this poor, young woman, who has just been told she is pregnant, but has no idea how this fact can be, since she is not yet married and is indeed a virgin! As if it’s not scary enough for an Angel to appear to you, this messenger of God himself is here telling you that out of all the people in this world, YOU have been chosen to carry and give birth to God’s only son, Jesus.
And yes, I’m sure Mary was terrified. For so many reasons! 1. She was a pregnant virgin. How could that even be?! 2. Joseph would surely abandon her after he found out she was pregnant. 3. What would people think of her? 4. How was she going to raise a child, most likely on her own? 5. Why did God choose her? And the list goes on and on…
I think about Mary, and I think about how willing she was to serve the Lord, even though she must have had a million questions. I think about her faithfulness in God and her obedience to his will, even if that meant having to change every plan she had made for her future. I’m sure Mary, just like any other engaged woman, had wedding plans, had an idea about starting a family, had thoughts about just how her life was going to go, and here comes God, changing up everything.
And I wonder how I myself would have reacted to this Angel and his inconvenient declaration. After I had first thrown something at this poor messenger from God, just because he would have scared the dickens out of me, I think I would have laughed at his ridiculous announcement that I was indeed pregnant. Then I would have proceeded to remind him that it takes two to tango, if you know what I mean, and since I hadn’t been “tangoing” with anyone, he was surely mistaken and had come to the wrong Mary. And then denial would have moved into fear and doubt - what in the world am I going to do and Dear Lord why have you picked me, out of all the women you could have picked?! can’t imagine the overwhelming emotions that I would be feeling…
I most certainly wouldn’t be a willing and obedient servant to God, such as Mary was. I would definitely not have faith in God’s plan and not have trust that it would all work out in the end. I can only imagine my selfish pride and stubborn preoccupation with my own life plans would get in the way of my humility towards God and my willingness to serve Him.
And so I can only sit here and pray to the Lord that He “teaches me obedience, grants me forgiveness, so that I may, like Mary, be His willing servant.” I can only repent to God for my sin as a stubborn and selfish woman, and pray that he instills in me a greater willingness to act as He commands and wishes me to do. I can only strive to do better, to pause in my busy life, to put my own agenda to the side for just a minute, and to really listen to what God is saying to me and asking of me, as His willing and obedient, faithful servant.