Advent is a season of the liturgical year observed in many Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for both the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas and the return of Jesus at the Second Coming. Advent is the beginning of the Western liturgical year. Wikipedia
Luke 1:26-38 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
The Virgin Mary
26-27 During Elizabeth’s sixth month of pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to a virgin girl who lived in Nazareth, a town in Galilee. She was engaged to marry a man named Joseph from the family of David. Her name was Mary. 28 The angel came to her and said, “Greetings! The Lord is with you; you are very special to him.”
29 But Mary was very confused about what the angel said. She wondered, “What does this mean?”
30 The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, because God is very pleased with you. 31 Listen! You will become pregnant and have a baby boy. You will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great. People will call him the Son of the Most High God, and the Lord God will make him king like his ancestor David. 33 He will rule over the people of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 Mary said to the angel, “How will this happen? I am still a virgin.”
35 The angel said to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come to you, and the power of the Most High God will cover you. The baby will be holy and will be called the Son of God. 36 And here’s something else: Your relative Elizabeth is pregnant. She is very old, but she is going to have a son. Everyone thought she could not have a baby, but she has been pregnant now for six months. 37 God can do anything!”
38 Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let this thing you have said happen to me!” Then the angel went away.
Most of love this season. We do the shopping, decorate the tree and drop a few coins in the kettles and the boxes of the sidewalk Santa’s. But if we forget that Jesus is the reason for the season then we miss the point of Advent. So let me ask you “Can you Advent like Mary?”
When the angel Gabriel told Mary she was going to be the mother of Jesus her first thought was “Who me?” But I think there are several things we can all learn from her to follow in our preparation for the coming of our Lord.
Let me start off by saying, as a man obviously I have no idea on what it’s like to be pregnant. Yes I am the father of two but that is no substitute for 9 months of child bearing. But if we view Advent like pregnancy then let’s follow what Mary did.
- Mary took time for reflection.
1:29 Amplified Bible (AMP)
29 But she was greatly perplexed at what he said, and kept carefully considering what kind of greeting this was.
During Advent do you take time for prayer and reflection about the coming of our Savior? Mary’s Advent was 9 months and I’m sure during that meeting with Gabriel and the months after she was in prayer about the coming of Jesus. And if married are you in prayer with your spouse? Joseph also had a word from an angel to convince him that Mary’s child was from the Holy Spirit. Are we seeking a word from the Spirit in pray as we anticipate Gods greatest gift to mankind.
2. Mary and Joseph for that matter fasted. Fasting is the willing, abstinence or reduction from something for a period of time. Most people associate fasting with food, drink, or both. In Mary and Josephs situation it was they didn’t have relations until after Jesus birth.
Matthew 1:25 The Message (MSG)
24-25 Then Joseph woke up. He did exactly what God’s angel commanded in the dream: He married Mary. But he did not consummate the marriage until she had the baby. He named the baby Jesus.
What are we willing to give up in ourselves in preparation for the coming of Jesus. Many Christians associate the season of Lent with the idea of personal sacrifice but anyone woman will tell you during pregnancy there are many things they will give up in preparation for their baby. In our individual Advent/pregnancy journey what will you lay aside in your personal life to have your heart ready to receive the King of Kings?
3. What are you willing to give? Christmas time is the season we focus on giving. Gifts for mom, dad, the kids, relatives, great friends etc.. We might make a special donation to our favorite ministry, or mission board and many other things. Don’t get me wrong those thing are great, but are we willing to give of ourselves during this time? Mary willingly gave her body to God to do with what He wanted.
Luke 1:38 The Passion Translation (TPT)
38 Then Mary responded, saying, “This is amazing! I will be a mother for the Lord![a] As his servant, I accept whatever he has for me. May everything you have told me come to pass.” And the angel left her.
Serving God sounds really great on paper but when reality sets in it can be a different story. Now understand Mary had no idea how Joseph was going to react. Can you see the conversation in your mind. Hey babe how was your day? Oh well Jospeh I’m pregnant but it’s cool cause this angel came by and said that is was carrying the Messiah! Yea right and there’s this bridge over the Nile I want you to buy. Ok you get the idea.
Plus in that society she could have very easily been put to death by stoning for being an adulterer. But Mary was ready to risk it all to follow God. I would bet a number of people especially those who are the high and mighty types had calculated how long Joseph and Mary had been together and viewed Jesus as bastard. Yet Mary didn’t back off from serving God not matter how much potential anguish she might face.
Can we saying “That’s amazing” like Mary in doing what God calls us to do? First all all will we respond to Gods call of salvation to all of us through Jesus?
John 3:16 Living Bible (TLB)
16 For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son[a] so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
And if we already know Christ are we satisfied with just salvation or are you ready to go deeper? Mary was ready to risk it all to go deeper in her relationship with God. In this Advent season have you spent as much time seeking God as you do looking for that perfect tie, latest video game? Have you spent more hours on black Friday lines or at checkout counters than you have on your knees? Have you sought God in prayer as to what is His desire for your life as you await the coming of our savior Jesus? Or more sought the schedule for your favorite college teams bowl appearance, NFL schedule, baseball free agent signing or who is getting the rose in the Bachelor(ette)show.
Yes let’s do Advent like Mary and go all out for Jesus or is just another day on the calendar.