Today our devotional is written by Ann Schwarm. Have a great rest of your day!
Daily Scripture Reading: Luke 1:39-45
“For no word from God will ever fail.”
Our short scripture reading starts with the words “A few days later….” That begs the question, what happened a few days earlier? In previous verses, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, carrying the message from God that she, Mary, would bear His son. Gabriel also announced to her that Elizabeth, Mary’s relative, was also pregnant, but further along.
So “a few days later,” Mary, only pregnant for a short while and Elizabeth, formerly thought to be barren but now pregnant for six months, meet. Our humble heroines didn’t even need words to communicate. It was simply the sound of Mary’s voice that told Elizabeth all she needed to know. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth declares not what she could see, after all it was only “a few days later” but what she knew in her heart, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed.”
Besides being pregnant, what did Mary and Elizabeth share? They believed in God’s promise to each of them. Elizabeth was thought to be barren. She and the culture she lived in viewed this as a disgrace. Elizabeth and her priestly husband, Zechariah, were good people, righteous in God’s eyes. They had prayed and prayed to no avail. Now, both she and Zechariah were very old. Upon discovering that she, Elizabeth, was indeed pregnant, she proclaimed “The Lord has done this for me….In these days, He has shown his favor….” Likewise, Mary upon hearing that she, a very young woman, a virgin, would give birth to the Son of God, didn’t doubt, instead she listened to what Gabriel had come to declare. Then Mary professes, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you said about me come true.” During this very special visit between God’s chosen, faithful women, they embraced the words Gabriel spoke to Mary “For no word from God will ever fail.”
Both women were experiencing the unexpected. Both declared their belief in God’s promise to each of them. Practicality, human nature, years of experience in Elizabeth’s case and lack of experience in Mary’s, might have caused either or both to entertain at least a little bit of doubt. Instead, Elizabeth and Mary submitted and surrendered to God’s will with joy and reverence.
1. Mary visited Elizabeth, a relative, a close one we must assume, after she received “the news.” Whom would you visit if you received life-changing news? Why that person?
2. Have there been times in your past that you needed to get past practicality and human nature to turn away from doubt and embrace surrender? If so, what did you do to get to the point of acceptance and hopefully joy? How will remembering this help you in the future?
3. What about this story did you like best? How will that thought influence how you experience Advent?
Dear God, Thank you for Elizabeth and Mary and their unwavering belief in your promises. During Advent, remind me to slow down and reflect on their lives lived faithfully in your service, remembering these lessons when I experience difficulties and doubts of my own. Their joy and expectation, leap off the page of my Bible just like John the Baptist jumped for joy in Elizabeth’s womb. Help me to not miss the joy of this season.
In Christ’s name I pray. Amen
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