Great Plains Daily Devotional for 12/19/2020

Today please be in prayer for

Karen Lamb
Burr UMC
Douglas UMC-NE
Blue River District
Brian Kottas
Alvo UMC
Eagle UMC
Blue River District
Hollis Patterson
Ellis UMC-NE,
Odell UMC
Blue River District
Michelle Chesnut
Elmwood St Paul UMC
Murdock Ebenezer UMC
Blue River District

Today's Lectionary Text

Luke 1:38-39


Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country,

Today's Devotional

During this Season of Advent, I find myself at the end of the day, as the house quiets, sitting in my living room with the lights off and resting in the glow of tiny white lights on the tree. A time for reflection and grace. A sense of peace in the stillness fills me and comforts me.

For several years now, I’ve been drawn to Mary and her experience in the story. After being “troubled” by the angel Gabriel’s greeting and having her question about conceiving answered, she has said “Yes” to an unplanned pregnancy and giving birth to a little boy who will become a great man, the Son of God.

It seems like she said “Yes” without really thinking about it. The protective Mom in me is triggered ... Did she consider all the consequences? What about the uncertainty, fear, judgment from others? And what about this Holy Spirit thing? She is so young and naive. In the midst of my own anxiety for her, I’m also in awe of her faithfulness, willingness, and trust.

If you’re like me, I been in situations where I’ve heard an invitation and responded with a Yes. And, then . . . reality sinks in and I start “thinking” about it, “Oh my word, what have I just said YES to.“ Yet, for Mary, it wasn’t just a “Yes” to chairing a committee, visiting the homebound, teaching a class, or being called into a vocation of ministry. Mary was preparing to be the Mother of the Son of God!

Although, I have to wonder if Mary, too, wasn’t overcome with her own doubt and questions about what she just said, “Here I am, the servant of the Lord, let it be with me according to our word.” (Luke 1:38) Luke tells us in verse 39, she “went with haste” to be with Elizabeth. On the surface, I’ve thought Mary went to be with Elizabeth for three months to escape ridicule or even was “sent” away by relatives. On deeper reflection, Elizabeth may have been just who Mary needed to be with. Perhaps, the angel Gabriel mentioned Elizabeth’s situation as a nudge to Mary to reach out to Elizabeth. Perhaps Gabriel knew she would be needing a trusted spiritual companion in her doubt. A safe space and time to share her fears without judgment and to be vulnerable and honest? Was it Elizabeth’s availability and presence that grew Mary’s willingness to open herself to all of what God was asking of her? Was it Elizabeth’s listening that moved Mary into her Song of Praises for God and the vision of transforming the world through her Son? The Gospel of Luke tells us she stayed with Elizabeth for three months. Not a surprise given the great work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of these two women. This wasn’t a weekend visit type of thing.

In our own trying times with a global pandemic, political upheaval, and societal norms shifting; Mary and Elizabeth are powerful teachers for us. They persevered in their faithfulness, they embraced their interconnectedness, they held space for one another as they listened to their God. They said “Yes” to the Holy Invitation.

 

--Terri Storer
Lincoln First UMC
Certified Lay Servant
Certified Spiritual Director

Prayer for Reflection

Gracious God, we sit with Mary as she prepares and welcomes this new baby boy into the world. Open our senses to hear your whispers, to respond to your invitations and nudges. Open our minds and hearts to make space for others, to create safe spaces for sharing from a place of vulnerability. Guide us to listen in the silence and trust the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives. May your tiny white lights shine brightly in all seasons holding us in peace and comfort. Amen.

 

 

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