Advent Devotional: Christmas Eve and Day

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Mary Was That Mother Mild

December 24 & 25, 2019

And the angel said to her….“Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus…. And the LORD God will give to him the throne of his father David….” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the LORD; let it be to me according to your word.” —Luke 1:30-32, 38 (see Luke 1:26-38)

No work of the Holy Spirit is more miraculous than what occurred in Mary’s womb, enabling the Virgin to give birth to the Son of God. Few heroes of the faith have been as trusting as Mary, the Mother of God. Mary believed the words of the angel immediately. She did not raise any objections or hold out for an easier calling.

How rare it is to find someone who is willing to trust God for the impossible and then obey him without hesitation. Think of Moses, who asked God to send someone else to lead Israel’s exodus from Egypt (Exodus 4:13). Or of Gideon, who said he couldn’t deliver Israel because he was the weakest man from the weakest tribe (Judges 6:15).

Mary trusted God, even when it seemed impossible. But her service also led to great suffering. There were the rumors about her that circulated in her community as well as the physical pains of pregnancy and childbirth. And there were many hardships that Mary could not have predicted: the journey to Bethlehem, the exile in Egypt, the hatred of Herod.

But the greatest suffering came when Jesus grew to be a man and became the center of dangerous controversy. At the very end, of course, Mary had to endure her firstborn’s arrest, trial, crucifixion, and burial.

This all happened to Mary because she was willing to obey. And this is what it means to be a Christian. Indeed, we might even say that Mary was the first Christian. To be a Christian means being willing to say, by the grace of God, through faith in Christ, and by the work of his Holy Spirit, what Mary said: “Have it your way, Lord, not mine—I am ready to do your will.”

Reflective Question

In what areas of your life do you most struggle to submit to God’s will, and how is God calling you to obey?

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