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Advent Devotional – December 23

‘The Lord is with you’

Please read Luke 1:26-35, 38

God’s story unfolded through Mary in a way that would change the world. God’s story with Mary began with a simple greeting that invited Mary to faith: “The Lord is with you.” Mary’s response, Mary’s story, began with fear and anxiety. Mary was shaken by the message.

Our story, like Mary’s, often includes fear and anxiety. The events of our daily lives have the power to shake us up. We know that the Lord is with us, yet our faith does not mean we are exempt from doubt and fear.

My daughter called this morning from Colorado. She had a ticket to fly to Charlotte today. She was anxious about traveling. She pondered her anxiety. Should she travel, or not? We experience fear and anxiety because we live in a real world. Our fears and anxieties are opportunities for our faith to be exercised, for our story of faith to be enriched.

God did not reject Mary for her fear. God did not search a replacement when Mary was puzzled. God continued with the promise, a surprise, the Son.

Mary questioned again, “How can this be …?” She had good reason to question. She was a virgin. The promise seemed impossible. God’s story does include promises that appear to be impossible. God has promised that we, his disciples, would do great things, but … How can I forgive? How can I share my faith with someone else? How can I deal with this bully?

God did not reject Mary for her questioning. The promise was renewed. Mary was invited to believe. She responded with faith: “Here am I, let it be with me according to your word.” Today we are invited to make Mary’s story our story, a story that trusts God every time we are afraid or anxious.

Lord, give us faith in you that will overcome our fears and anxieties. Amen.

by John Mocko

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