“Live and in person” Advent devotion for December 17, 2020. Read Luke 1:26-38 and Psalm 103.
And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. (Luke 1:30-35)
The addition of a newborn to the family sparks the imagination. Parents watch with great interest, noticing (and bragging) about the slightest hints of athletic ability, musical aptitude, artistic tendencies and a higher than average IQ. With a vision for what that young child could grow up to be, they will invest in lessons, instruments, leotards, balls and books. Preschool is a must so that the child keeps up with others already on track for scholarships, medical school and talent agencies.
It was a bit different for Jesus. From conception, Mary knew exactly what her son would be and what he would do. He was destined for politics, assuming the throne of his ancestor David. He would be religious, filled with the Spirit and a child of God. He would learn a trade from his father, carpentry. He would dabble in fishing, the healing arts and meal prep. But his name alone spoke of his primary mission. They would name him Jesus, for he would save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).
Few lives are linear. While some know exactly what they want to do from a young age, others have lots of false starts. Students change their college majors early and often. Aspiring physicians discover they can’t handle the sight of blood, and branch off into other sciences. Some don’t discover what they are good at until they have tried a number of things. You might be cut out for a job that won’t even exist for another twenty years.
Queen Esther discovered she was around for a special moment. Peter, Andrew, James and John all changed careers mid-stream, leaving their fishing business to follow Jesus. Joseph, Daniel, David and Gideon are just a few who found themselves in totally unexpected leadership positions. And what a surprise it was when Mary learned she was going to be a mom!
From a young age, Jesus knew who he was and what he would do. In the temple at age twelve, he felt very comfortable in his father’s house. At his baptism, he knew the path he had to take to fulfill all righteousness. He didn’t let the devil or anyone else detour him from his mission. He knew the course of his life as determined by prophecies. He knew that he had come to die, to rise and to save.
Isn’t it amazing that God knows exactly who you’ll turn out to be? Since he designed and made you, he knows more about you than you do! It’s also amazing that each of us gets to be a number of things. We get to be part of a family, friends, parents, grandparents and beyond. We’ve got both vocations and avocational activities to get involved in. And through it all, we find “favor with God,” by grace and through faith in Mary’s child, the Son of God.
Thank you, Lord, for making me who I am and for being who you are, my Lord and Savior. Amen.