12 Days of Christmas: Day One: Right Where You Are.
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12 Days of Christmas (Day 1)
Focus: The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. For the word of God will never fail.” Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her. (Luke 1:35-38)
Starting Point. Mary was fully available to God right where she was.
Looking Deeper. Okay – so there are a couple different ways that we can read this . . .
Too often we go to the fairy-tale drama. You can just see Mary sitting there on the corner of her bed talking to an angel in the middle of the night – windblown hair – awestruck wonder. Stoic in how she accepts her fate, she realizes that this will forever change her life and the fate of every person on the planet. She closes her eyes and clutches a candle to her chest absorbing the new role of Mary, the Mother of God.
Luke is more earthy than that. Read it again - her concern is about here and now, not there and then. She wasn’t thinking about how human history would change – she was thinking about how her life would change.
So after a few minutes of thinking, she says, “Well, I’m your servant - may everything you have said come true.”
Remember – this is not, “cool, I get to be the main character in Christmas plays all over the planet for the next two thousand years.” She is wrestling with the idea of being pregnant. She has no idea about the grand plan – the cross, the resurrection, the history of God and man. All she knows what is happening now.
Which, for the record, is all she is really told.
She gets no extra in-depth revelation about God or the bigger picture or anything. In fact she gets a handful of messages that sketch out redemption and then Jesus is born. Then (as far as we know) for the next 30 years she is pretty much on her own. I wonder if she struggled with her role. Her inadequacies. Her confusion. What are the next steps for a teenage mother of the world’s Savior? It’s weird how quickly God returns her to the mundane life of a young mom.
Kind of like us . . .
We too struggle with not seeing the bigger plan in it all.
Like the dead-end job you are in – where is this all going?
Like the diagnosis you got – why is God letting this happen?
Like the feeling you get twenty times a day when your kids can’t just get along. Will God ever change their hearts?
Like the secrets that you keep because your life would blow up if anyone knew – how much longer can all of this go on?
Like is there a purpose for me being single this long?
Within a year Mary winds up married and has a small child in Nazareth. Nazareth was a nowhere in Israel. It was officially po-dunk. People from Nazareth had accents like we might think of someone from the woods of West Virginia (sorry WV natives).
You know what that means?
It means that the only thing separating you from being used wherever you are is your attitude. You can go on questioning and complaining about how lost you are or how forgotten you are or how you don’t see God at work in your life.
Or you can have the attitude of Mary – use me as you see fit and where you see fit.
So your problem is not that God has forgotten you. Your problem is that you have forgotten God. The place you are right now is the best place for God to use you and it’s your attitude, not your latitude that has you lost. Take a moment to practice this breathing.
Breathe in: “God I know you are in control of my life.” Breathe out: “I’m your servant, God – use me as you see fit.”
God has a purpose for your life right where you are. Sometimes we are so focused on the big picture that we forget the small challenges that come our way. Ask God to push you in one small area where you can be used today. Write down one thing right now that you feel like God is nudging you to do.
Say hello to that mean co-worker
Make some time with a nephew or cousin.
Send a note to your parents.
Tell someone today how much you appreciate them.
Tell an old teacher how much they impacted your life.
We follow God by being a light in the small things of life.