Beach time!

Beach time!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Finding favor

But the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.'

Luke 1:30
Obviously, we are all up in the Christmas season. You have probably done your shopping. Me? No. I will be one of the last minute, go after payday 2 weeks before Christmas, kind of people. It's all a part of the holiday fun, right? :)

When I was young and I would hear the Christmas story being read at church during the few weeks leading up to Christmas, this was the verse that always stuck with me. Even as a little girl, I wondered how Mary had found favor with God. She always struck me as a quiet, reserved young lady (which I have never been!) that sort of flew under the radar. Maybe it's all that serene pondering she did. She obviously honored God with her quiet, unassuming life of obedience. I wonder if she was surprised that her little life had gained her a visit from an angel of God. At this point all the angel had told her was that she had found favor with God and that the Lord was with her. I would have loved to seen the expression on her face. She was such a young girl (I think around 13 or 14 maybe?) and God knew that she was ready for the moment that would change her life and the world forever.

Mary's first reaction was fear. So, this thing we struggle with is a common denominator for everyone. Even when Mary is being told she is favored by God, she is terrified because this is angel appearance is clearly a new experience for her. This tells me that fear can come anytime. We usually associate fear with the struggles of life but it can creep up on us even in the midst of unexpected good news. When the angel tells her that she will conceive and give birth to Jesus, she questions it and then accepts it in obedience. The angel even has to validate it by telling her about Elizabeth conceiving in her old age. Even when God is granting favor on us, we often have some emotions to work through. We may experience fear, uncertainty, and hopefully acceptance.

I want to spend this next year as I work through these verses looking for those situations that start as perceived fear but turn into favor from God. Sometimes I may have to look really hard. Sometimes it may be more obvious. Change is always hard for us but I want my heart to be as Mary's: "I am the Lord's servant...May it be according to your word."

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