Daily Advent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Wednesday, December 22

By Jane Gulley

The Virgin Mary, First Disciple

Read Luke 1:26-2:56

Many of us spend a lot of time on screens, especially since the onset of the pandemic. In the internet’s “attention economy” we are exposed to thousands of advertisements. We interact online with caution, afraid of being scammed, verbally abused, or otherwise digitally harmed.

In this context, can you imagine seeing a pop-up ad and responding with this?  “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38).

That’s what Mary did. The Angel Gabriel popped up in her life and said, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you: blessed are you among women!” (Luke 1:28). The next verse says, “But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.” In other words, Mary was tempted to close the browser and report Gabriel as a phishing scam. Instead, the Galilean girl listened. She believed Gabriel’s message that she had “found favor with God” and would bear a son, Jesus. And she wholeheartedly committed to her task. She became a disciple.

We Protestants do not emphasize Mary’s story as much as our Catholic and Orthodox friends. But in her role as an exemplary mother, Mary has much to teach us. She was obedient to God’s will, and even happy about it. She trusted that God’s plan would come to fruition through her and other people. (Joseph receives his own angelic encouragement in Matthew, Chapter 1). She demonstrated remarkable grit, giving birth in a barn and traveling to Egypt shortly afterward. She was joyful about her role: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.”

And most of all, Mary stayed with her Son all the way to the end of his earthly life, when other friends ran away. What a mom. As we cope with lives of uncertainty, let us see Mary as a model for responding to the unexpected in tremendous ways.

Prayer

Lord, help me to recognize the “pop up messages” that are opportunities to answer your call upon my life. Help me to trust in others and to see God’s plan in the ordinary days. And give me strength to meet today’s challenges, today.  

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