Welcome to the third week of Advent!
Tradition holds that the third week of Advent is about the joy and peace we find in the Messiah, with Mary, the mother of Jesus, being our example. We finally begin to see the the connection from seeing our need for a Savior to discovering and sharing the news of that Savior to beginning to see some of the rewards of following the Savior.
And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. -Luke 1:38
But those rewards rest on our response to what God has done.
(This is not to claim that we can do anything to earn salvation. This is also not the place to have a major soteriological debate [hash out matters and merits of salvation, i.e. over Calvinism, Arminianism, and the like]. Please enjoy the thoughts today, and head over to the Proverbial Thought Extra Facebook page if you want to dialogue with us, or you can leave a respectful comment.)
Contrary to what many teach today, God will give us more than we can handle. It encourages us to rest in Him, trust that He knows what He is doing, and let His power flow through us by the Holy Spirit.
Case in point, young Mary – who is yet to be married to Joseph at this juncture in the story of Christ – is told she is to carry the Son of God and give birth to Him.
Think about it: a young female, not yet married, in a society that limits what women can do with a religion that shuns the sexually impure, being told she is about to be pregnant. She is risking being ostracized by family and friends, thought a liar and a slut, and severely limiting her prospects for the future.
And how does she respond to this news?
“I am the Lord’s servant.”
How willing are we to be willing to the call of God?
We do not have to carry the baby Jesus to term, but we are tasked with carrying His Gospel to a fallen world.
We do not have to risk being labeled liars, but we risk being ridiculed for believing a man is God in the flesh, was killed, and came back to life.
We may not have to risk family and friends thinking we are crazy and abandoning us …
Actually, yes, we do.
Such is the cost of believing in and following Jesus. It may even cost us our lives.
If we want to find the joy and peace that comes with following Jesus, we first must be willing to actually follow Jesus. With all that it may cost us.
Emmanuel, thank You for coming to save us. Give us the resolve to pursue you throughout the world, or even to our literal neighbors and family.