The Coming of Grace: Love

Welcome to our Advent series The Coming of Grace.  During this season we will share with you the sights and sounds of the Advent season.  Feel free to enjoy the pictures, music, words and thoughts below as you desire.  This week we celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Advent, Love.

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Reflect on this image...

                         What comes to mind?

Scripture: Luke 1: 26-38

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36 And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 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.

Devotional by Cheryl Lyon

Mother of Mystery

I was there that night. 

I saw her – Mary – bewildered by the attention of the kings, astonished by the crowd of shepherds – wondering what these signs foretold, worried for her son, who was just a fragile infant. 

And I saw Him – He who we were seeking – the Great One, the Messiah.  I saw that the balance of the world was standing on the edge of a knife.  This baby had the power to unite us all – or fracture us into greater chaos.

Mary let me hold him, and my heart split open.  He looked at me with such openness and curiosity and acceptance. Such Love.  The peace of God overwhelmed me and tears welled in my eyes.  In my mind, I heard a voice: "Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall come to all people!  Lo, I will be with you, always."

I asked Mary, "What is it like, to be the mother of the Messiah?"

She answered, "I do not know.  I am the mother of a baby boy who needs all of my love and protection. I love him as fiercely as any mother has ever loved her child.  I wonder if I am up to the task of raising Him – He who already knows all.  What will his childhood be like?  Will he raise armies when he is grown?  I fear for his safety in every moment.  And then I look into his eyes – those eyes that looked at you just now – and I know.  I know that somehow, someway, things will work out.  Everything will be OK – I just need to take each day – each moment, really – as it comes."

The baby cried.

Mary laughed. "And in this moment, he needs to eat."

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We don’t know how much Mary knew about the baby who would grow up to be the Messiah.  If I had to guess, I’d say she probably knew very little about how Jesus’ life would unfold.  God calls us to be attentive to the demands and opportunities of this moment, even as we move toward larger goals.

What needs your attention right now?