For centuries, Christians made space in their crowded hearts at Christmas through participating in a daily devotion called Advent. The word “Advent” means “coming.” The season of Advent refers to the four-week period leading up to Christmas Day. Jesus’ coming was not just a one-time event as a child so long ago, but his coming invades our lives everyday if we have eyes to see. The Advent season is seen as an intentional time of attuning our hearts, in the busyness of our frenzied days, to recognize all the unexpected ways Jesus still comes to us. In a world of distractions Advent allows us to pay attention to what is real and essential.
Advent Reflection: Let the Weary World Rejoice is an ebook available at Amazon (just $2.99) with a short, insightful daily devotional, Scripture reading, and two reflective questions, Advent Reflections is perfect for individuals or families to be used as a tool to help you slow down and keep your heart in a place of wonder and anticipation rather than a place of exhaustion.
Here is an excerpt from one of the daily devotionals:
Living with Abandon
“I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.” Luke 1:38
Mary hears an incredible story about what is about to unfold in her life. Like each of us, Mary had dreams and plans for her life treasured deep with her heart. Unexpectedly and unpredictably, however, God shows up and alters the entire course of her life and it has nothing to do with the storyline she’d intended to write for herself. The sudden arrival of the Holy Spirit in our lives seldom looks how we imagined.
Mary’s response? She could have approached God’s intervention in many different ways: anger, bargaining, disbelief, denial…but she didn’t. Amazingly, she didn’t try to get out of it. She didn’t try to bargain with God. “If you do this, I promise I will…” She didn’t say, “Are you sure? Can we talk about this?”
I don’t know about you, but when God interrupts my well-laid plans and my carefully constructed life, I can’t say I would react in a similar manner. I mean, what does He think he is doing? Who does He think He is?
Yet, there was no hesitation from Mary. Her response to this staggering revelation: “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as You have said,” How could she respond in such a way? I believe she had a faith that understood a God working beneath the surface of things and allowed her to believe there was more going on than what she could see.
Max Lucado tells of an experience he had on an airplane. “I kept hearing outbursts of laughter. The flight was turbulent and bumpy, hardy a reason for humor. But some fellow behind me was cracking up. No one else, just him. Finally I turned to see what was so funny. He was wearing headphones and apparently listening to a comedian. Because he could hear what I couldn’t, he acted differently than I did.”
I think Mary heard things that I haven’t, because I am not sure my response would have been like hers! I marvel how Mary must have known that God is rich with creativity in spite of the fear that gripped her heart. She understood the spiritual life has more to do with what God is doing than what she is doing. She had a faith that did not require final answers or miraculous deliverance, but was able to throw open her life to the movement and activity of God.
Craig Barnes writes, “God has interrupted our ordinary expectations, as cherished as they were, to conceive something. We cannot manage it. We can’t even understand it. All we can do is receive it. Because if God has conceived this thing, then it is holy, and it will save our lives.” –When God Interrupts, p.41.
Mary’s story welcomes us to do the same. There is something in me that wants to respond with the same faith-filled proclamation, “May it be to me as you have said.” I want to respond with a passionate, “YES!” to God’s interruptions. We have the same promise Mary received: Don’t be afraid. God is with you. You are not alone. He walks with us through every difficult place; His strength can be our strength; He knows your name; He can bring beauty and order to that which is chaotic and fearful.
The mystery of the life of Christ birthed in our hearts, reminds us that we are indeed favored, the Lord is with us, and this indeed is an occasion of great hope.
Questions for Reflection
- What has so gripped you that you are unable to hope that God can bring good out of it?
- How can you, like Mary, come to allow faith in God’s creativity and goodness take root in your own soul?
Find Advent Reflections at Amazon for $2.99!