Digging in Deeper: Luke 2:19

**No post tomorrow. We’ll get back to our regular schedule on Thursday. Happy New Year!

“But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

How busy are you? Okay, how busy are you, really? If your family or simply your life is at all like mine, you have a tendency to schedule yourself to the point that you simply run from thing to thing to thing and never stop to breathe, much less think about any of them. While that’s an easy pattern to fall into, it isn’t one that will lead to flourishing in the long term. As we sit here in the limbo that is the days between Christmas and the New Year, let’s see if we can’t take a page out of Mary’s playbook and take it all in for a minute.

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Digging in Deeper: Jeremiah 1:5

“I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born. I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

Mary was called to a big task. I mean, in an entirely practical sense, she wasn’t called to anything she wasn’t already going to experience herself in a few years—Jesus had other siblings—but the timing, the nature, and the birth circumstances of this particular child were going to be a big task. And because God Himself was so invested in this task, we can rest assured that He wouldn’t have chosen Mary for it unless He was certain she could handle it. The same goes for us. Let’s talk about why.

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Digging in Deeper: Luke 2:7

“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”‬‬ (ESV – Read the chapter

Have you ever had anything not go the way you were expecting? Perhaps the better question is whether or not you’ve had that happen yet today. We regularly make plans only to have to throw those plans in the trash when they bump up against the walls of reality. The real question we need to face here is not whether or not we’ve faced this disruption of intent, but what we did about it when it happened. 

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Morning Musing: Luke 1:30

“And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”‬‬ (ESV – Read the chapter

The angel told Mary that she had found favor with God, and then set her on a road that was incredibly difficult. We’d sure like to think that being the recipient of God’s favor is a good thing from start to finish, but given the kinds of things Mary experienced, that’s not such an easy conclusion as we’d like. So, what does it mean to find God’s favor?

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The Life of a Servant

What does it mean to serve the Lord?  Have you ever really thought about that?  Followers of Jesus are told we are to serve Him, but we don’t often think about the details.  As we continue our series, The Characters of Christmas, Mary’s story gives us a pretty comprehensive picture.  Check this out to see what the picture of serving the Lord looks like.  

The Life of a Servant

So, last week we looked at the story of Gabriel’s announcement to Zechariah that his barren wife would conceive and give birth to a son.  In this, we saw that God’s promises are not fulfilled solely by the boldly miraculous or the faith superheroes, but instead, are made manifest when God moves in the lives of people very much like you and me. I have to think that the story of Zechariah’s encounter with Gabriel in the Temple would have spread pretty quickly. I mean, as far as we know, God had not spoken in a public way to His people in about 400 years at that point. Let’s be honest: We have trouble imagining 400 years period.  Four hundred years is just about how long there have been permanent, successful colonies of Europeans in North America.  Jamestown isn’t that far from here.  You can go up to Williamsburg and see the remnants of that very first settlement in 1607.  It’s a pretty neat museum and recreation. 

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