An Advent Devotion for December 17
Read Luke 1:26-38
Tom Long says, “Gabriel’s first surprise to Mary was ‘The Lord is with you, do not be afraid.’ You can be sure that Mary was gripped with fear. We call it the virgin birth; I don’t know what Mary called it, a mess, a dilemma, a thorny problem.” Mary’s life becomes quite complicated after that moment of wonder and amazement. The angel’s visit turns into the hard practicalities of living it out. Trying to explain the coming birth to the man you are engaged to and to your parents was no easy task. Why would anyone believe her outlandish tale?
Yet Mary, having said “yes” – begins the preparations. There is cloth for swaddling to prepare, plans for a birth, a midwife to alert and arrangements to be made. In the midst of what was supposed to be somewhat normal, is an untimely trip to Bethlehem with a child coming. Not quite the exodus or exile of war time, but not the best time to pick up and go on a ten-day trip. Scripture knows nothing of a donkey to carry Mary. No, this soon to be mom is most likely walking the entire distance. Gathering up all which will be needed for the birth, with a child soon to come, Mary & Joseph begin the grueling one hundred mile journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem.
Mary will be deeply challenged as she accepts both the difficulties and trials of the journey ahead. She responds with graciousness. The journey will test her often. She will need to remember the angels’ words, “The Lord is with you . . . do not be afraid.”
Prayer: Persistent and caring God, remind us that with you at our side, we do not need to fear the future or the present. You are with us and for your presence we are grateful. Help us to live as people who know that. Amen.
Additional Advent & Christmastide Devotions can be found by clicking here: Advent & Christmastide Devotions