Peace and Joy on the Earth
by Drawing Near to God

We are officially at the beginning of Advent; a time to focus on the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ; a time to reflect and rejoice and remember why we celebrate Christmas– the coming of Christ!




Mary, the mother of Jesus had a surprise visit from the angel Gabriel. He seems to show up in the Bible in unexpected yet glorious ways. And he always said: ” Do not be afraid”. Perhaps he said that because he knew that an angel appearing– a large glorious angel would frighten the fool out of her. He told Mary, a virgin, that the Lord was with her and that she was highly favored by the Lord. Am thinking that helped soften the blow for Mary when he told her she would become pregnant and the child would not be Joseph’s but the Son of God!  Mary’s womb now filled with God…. And Mary’s response?

Let everything you have said happen to me. 

Would that be your response? Not mine. I would have run. Or thought that this angel was my imagination or a bad dream. Not Mary. Somehow she knew that God had spoken.

Fast forward to Jesus’ birth. An angel (he sure gets around) appeared to shepherds in the fields who were keeping watch of their flocks at night. The glory of the Lord shone around them and they were terrified. Now their reaction was more like mine would have been. Terrified. Then the entire heavenly host appeared with the angel saying:

Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those whom his favor rests. 

Next stop for the shepherds was to find Mary and the baby. And they did with Jesus lying in a manger. They spread the word concerning what they heard and had seen. And what did Mary do?

She treasured up all these things and pondered then in her heart. 

Why is Mary’s response so unusual? She chose to believe. She chose to surrender. And that is what advent is all about for us. We choose to believe and we surrender. The greatest event in all of history was about to take place and Mary was favored by God to participate.

As we enter this advent season, let us be like Mary, full of wonder and expectation, pondering and treasuring the Word of God, knowing that He still brings peace and joy on earth to those whom his favor rests.




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