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Palm Sunday

Matthew 21:1-11

“When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey ties, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord need them. ‘ And he will send them immediately.’ The took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying, ‘Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and placed there cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!’ When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, ‘Who is this?’ The crowds were saying, ‘This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.'”

I am not sure about you, but I have a really difficult time with celebrating on Palm Sunday. I guess I just know what the rest of this week is going to bring as we progress further and further along, edging towards Good Friday and the cross. Palm Sunday is the beginning of impending darkness. Yes, we know that Easter is coming, that our Lord and Savior will conquer death and bring about everlasting life, but we cannot get to Easter without first going through Good Friday (My dear friend used this expression today and I had to borrow it!).

This morning I woke up to a text message from one of my news apps, alerting me to yet another bombing–this time of Egyptian Coptic churches. Thanks to hindsight, I know of the impending darkness the disciples and Jesus are about to be met with and I know of the miracle of the resurrection along with the light which cannot be stomped out. But today I look and try to feel the heartbeat of this hurting world and I sense the pain, darkness and loss of hope that is not only coming in the story which leads us to the cross but which also is haunting us this very moment. We all know of the darkness that seems to be swallowing up the light here and now. We have to get through Good Friday to get to Easter morning.

I am weary. I know you must be too. I am saddened anytime I look at my phone. It seems that I am constantly alerted to darkness, pain and suffering. I wonder how much more can this world take? And I think of just how broken God’s own heart must be. Today I read a tweet by Nadia Boltz Weber and she ended it with “Lord have Mercy.” That is all I can utter. Lord, please have mercy. My heart breaks for this broken world and all those in it. My heart aches for those who live every day in fear and grief. I cry for those who are subjected to a life of wandering because they no longer have a home, due to the violence that has ravaged their countries, their lives, their hearts and their minds. And I cry out, “Lord have mercy.” We must endure Good Friday in order to reach Easter. 

I am not sure how long this Good Friday (this period of darkness and suffering) will last, but I cling to the hope that Easter is coming. I cling to the hope that our Lord will have mercy. I cling to the hope that that precious baby who was born in a stable did indeed come into the world to bring peace. That that little baby boy grew up to be a loving man (fully human and fully God), willing to lay down his own life to save each and every single one of us in this broken and fallen world. I cling to the hope that Easter morning will come and we will all rejoice. So until then I will continue to move forward, continue to make my way, alongside all of you my dear brothers and sisters, to the cross. I will try to reach my hands out into this broken, bloody and dark world in the hopes of helping in any small way I can. I will continue to believe that there is still light in this world when it seems like the darkness has swallowed it all up. I will do all of this because I know that this is not the first time darkness has seemingly won. I know that the light will not be defeated and I know that Jesus’ resurrection is a sure sign that the light will never be smushed out.

So today I found it hard to rejoice. I find it hard to rejoice because of all the suffering, pain and darkness that I see present in this world today but also for the suffering, pain and darkness that is coming in the story I know so well. But hindsight also allows me to hope, to believe and to know that the light which is everlasting is coming and has already come. Easter morning is coming! We must endure Good Friday in order to reach Easter morning.

May the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

I pray that the Lord hold each and every single one of us in a safe, everlasting, loving embrace. I pray for those who have only known a life of suffering, pain and darkness. I pray for those who have only known a life of instability, violence and fear. I pray for those who are lost, wandering and homeless. I pray that in this world of so much hatred and so much darkness that each one of us is a light that continues to shine. And I pray, with all of my heart that our Lord has mercy.

Peace, Joy, Blessings, and all my Love,

Margaret

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Saved

Many of my readers and my dear friends know that in the last year I have been grappling with a strong sense of call. A call to ministry that does not surprise me, yet scares the living daylights out of me. I wish I could write here that I eloquently praised God for this call, but to say that I did would only be a big, fat, ugly lie. I am a bit ashamed to admit that when I began feeling this strong sense of call a year ago I reacted like a terrible toddler. I did not cry out in praise, no, I cried out in grief. I mourned the loss of my big plans and ambitions. Rather than open my heart and hands with joy I curled my hands into tight little fists and tried to make my heart as small and hidden as possible. When I finally faced the reality of what God was calling me to, and released my hands and just a bit of my heart I resigned myself to accepting my fate. I felt as if my life was over, and if we are getting technical–my old life was coming to an end but only to be redeemed by God’s love with the offering of a beautiful new life, living into God’s plans for me. I uttered an “Okay” through gritted teeth and a whole mess of tears.

Since that utterance, nearly a year ago, I have been on a journey. A journey which has taken me to all sorts of new and beautiful places, introduced me to God, this world and so many of God’s beautiful children. This journey has led me places that I never thought I would go; spiritually, physically and emotionally. I have faced some of my biggest fears, been overwhelmed by the pure joy of freely given love, been betrayed and hurt by people I care so deeply for, tasted and seen the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord. This last year has been one of great struggle, grief, fear, beauty, courage, love and joy. This last year has been one of discovery, adventure and learning to believe. This year will forever be marked as special in my life. It is the year that I have recognized how God saves me over and over again.

I was in a really dark place when I uttered “Okay.” I was severely disenchanted with the church; I had seen the hurts the church had inflicted on people I loved, I had witnessed the hypocrisy of the church, I had experienced the pain that comes when the church plays for power rather than love. I had lost hope in the church. Until, I wandered into an Episcopal church tucked into the corner of St. Andrews on a Friday morning in June. I still remember walking up to that front door and before opening it looking up to heaven and offering up a silent prayer of “Please let these people be welcoming.” When I opened the door I was met face to face with Christ. Her name is Sybil, she was petite, white haired and wore purple eyeshadow. She looked at me, welcomed me in, handed me a service outline and when I told her I was Presbyterian she simply stated “Oh that doesn’t matter” and welcomed me to the table. I saw Christ in Sybil and I was invited to share bread and wine. Sybil and the congregation of that Episcopal church saved me and restored my hope in the church.

I mentioned above that this is the year I have begun to recognize how God saves me. I know God has saved me throughout my life, constantly reaching into the mess I make for myself and pulling me out to place me back on the right path. I think Nadia Bolz-Weber describes it best: “God simply keeps reaching down into the dirt of humanity and resurrecting us from the graves we dig for ourselves through our violence, our lies, our selfishness, our arrogance, and our addictions. And God keeps loving us back to life over and over” (Nadia Bolz-Weber, Pastrix, p. 174). This year I have begun to pay attention to when I have dug a nice little grave for myself and when God has reached in and picked me up out of that grave. If I think about my life I can pinpoint so many of these moments, thanks be to God! To believe in a God that will not stop reaching in and yanking me out of the grave I dig for myself, even when I tell God to buzz off (I have actually said this in with much nastier words) is incredible.

To worship a God who continually runs after me, welcomes me home with a big embrace and loves me despite all the nasty things I do is a wonderful gift. This season of Lent is challenging me and my faith in a number of different ways. God is asking me to trust when all I want to do is rely on myself (we all know how that works out for me). God is asking me to lay down my life and let God fully in when all I want is to let God have only a little bit of my heart. Giving my life to God is an everyday practice. Giving God everything that I have is so difficult but it is what we are all called to do. I guess I, like everyone else, have an incredibly difficult time believing that someone could love me as much and as well as God does. So as we make our way to the cross this season, I am trying to bare my heart and soul to God and myself, to open up my closed hands and heart, to trust in God’s love and promises and to believe that when God calls God will provide and go with me.

Wherever you are on your own journey, I hope that you recognize where God is reaching into your mess and pulling you out. I pray that you recognize Christ in the people who are in your life and see how God is working through them to help you. I pray you all meet, get to know and love your own Sybil and I pray that you are a Sybil to someone. As we make our way to the cross let’s be honest, let’s be courageous, let’s give all we have, and let’s love with all of our hearts our wonderful God and our neighbors.

May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Peace, Joy, Blessings and All My Love,

Margaret

*The woman in the picture is Sybil. She is truly a gem!

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Chasing Sunsets

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If I look outside around 4:30/5:00PM I will begin to see the sky change colors and the sun sink lower in the sky. This is my  signal that the end of another day is approaching and is an indicator that a gorgeous, God made show is about to begin. Tonight I chose to be present in the moment and present in this place; I didn’t want to let another stunning sunset go by without witnessing it. The funny thing with sunsets is, you can go out to the same place every evening, at the same time and sit in the same spot but the view that dances in front of your eyes will always be different. Somehow each evening the sky will be illuminated with an array of a variety of colors. Some sunsets paint the sky full of pastel colors that reflect off the clouds reminding me of cotton candy, while other evenings the sky resembles a fire, with all different shades orange and yellow. Tonight I stuck around and watched as the last orange light faded, the sky turned navy blue and the silvery moon made her appearance accompanied by a star.

As I walked further down the old bridge, towards the benches, I met a couple watching the sunset from their golf cart. I stopped and told them that they were doing life right and discovered that they come to watch the sunset every evening and had watched the sunrise that morning! Maybe that is what I need to start doing, taking time to slow down, enjoy the quiet of the evening and let myself feel small and overwhelmed by the beauty of the sky.

The gallery attached to this post is full of pictures from a few different sunsets that I have witnessed in the past few months, from four different countries. Some of the pictures are not the best quality, I took them on my phone! Even though the pictures are not perfect they are still gorgeous; however, nothing will ever compare to the magic that is watching the sky transform before your own eyes.

May the Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all!

Peace, Joy, Blessings and So Much Love,

Margaret

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Here is to Hoping

Just a few short months ago those four words, “Here is to hoping,” felt like a slap in the face. What was meant to be an offering of positivity and support instead felt like an expectation of failure. I guess how we interpret certain things is all about the state our hearts and minds. At the time, my heart and mind was in rough shape; I didn’t feel hopeful so the message was interpreted as an insult.

I have yet to publish a post that directly deals with the fact that we have just rung in a new year. I have been pondering my resolutions and have decided that I have a few things that I would like to add to 2017 to help make it a better year and to help me feel like I am really engaging in life. This post crops up from a place of deep longing to feel hope. Hope for a beautiful, loving and joyful 2017.

Currently, I am experiencing some really incredible things in my heart and my life, things that I am not yet ready to share on my blog. I find myself repeating the phrase, that a few short months ago, was nothing but an insult to me. Here is to hoping. It has become a sort of mantra for me in the last few days. Hope. Something so many of us struggle with, and up until just a few months ago, I struggled greatly with.

I can list so many reasons why I shouldn’t have hope for beautiful things to happen but you know what, my heart just wants to feel hopeful. So instead of trying to convince myself of reasons why not to hope I am going to just let my heart hope. I am going to have hope that the love will win. I am going to have hope that even in the midst of so much brokenness, fear and hatred that healing will happen, peace will triumph and love will always win. And do you know why I will cling to that hope? I cling to that hope because I see so many beautiful, hardworking, loving, kind and giving humans working to keep hope alive all over this world.

Over Christmas my mom and I went to visit my brother and his fiancé. During our visit my brother insisted that we all go see the most recent Star Wars film, Rogue One. I am so glad he insisted we go see it because one of the central themes of the film is hope and the main character, Jyn says one of the greatest quotes: “We have hope. Rebellions are built on hope!”–Jyn (Star Wars: Rogue One). *Spoiler Alert: If you have not seen the movie, I suggest you skip the next part*

This quote stood out to me, as I sat on the edge of my seat and watched Jyn deliver a powerful and inspiring speech, encouraging rebel forces to take a leap of faith I found myself inspired! Her speech does instill hope in some rebels (and certainly instilled hope in me!) and it is because of this hope that the rebellion was able to continue. The movie ends with Princess Leia receiving key information and when asked what they have received she claims, “They have given us hope.”

So that, my friends, is what I am trying to give to you–a reason to hope.

I am determined that 2017 will be marked by hope. Hope that the darkness will not overcome light. Hope that love will win. Hope in the people that I love and who are doing brave, incredible and lovely things. And hope in God.

So, Here is to Hoping!

Psalm 39:7:

“‘And now, O Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in you.”

Now my friends, May the Force be with you!

Peace, Joy, Blessings, HOPE and So Much Love,

Margaret

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Joy Comes in the Morning

Well 2016 is coming to close in a way I did not plan. But I guess that shouldn’t really come as a surprise because when do things really ever go as planned? This ending to 2016 hasn’t really been the best, but if we are being honest at least the news I received happened an hour before the ball drops, before I am fully into the New Year.  At least I still have a few minutes to ponder this and to see God’s hand in this event and glance back and meditate over God’s hand throughout this past year.

2016 has been a beautifully difficult year. A year filled with struggle, strife, heartbreak, fear, anxiety but it has also been a year of success, healing, joy, peace and so much love. This year has seen me question everything and wonder who I am, who God is and where God is. It has also been a year where I learned a bit more about myself and who I want to become. I met God in new and incredibly wonderful ways, touching the living vein of love.

2016 was full of ups and downs, not only in my life but in the world as well. I guess the thing I am going to take from all I have experienced this past year is that God is so good. No matter what has happened, no matter how many things seemed to fail and not go according to plan, God’s love brought healing and made things beautiful. So as I enter into 2017 I can only hope that I am blessed with as much love as I have felt this year and that I am continuously surprised by God.

Psalm 30:4

“Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger is but for a moment; his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may linger for the night but joy comes with the morning.”

My sisters and brothers: May the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. I am sending you, your family and friends all my love and well wishes for this New Year! If you find yourself weeping tonight remember that joy comes in the morning

Peace, Joy, Blessings and SO MUCH LOVE,

Margaret

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Jesus Calling

When I began designing The Versatile Girl’s new home I thought of all the different sections that I wanted to add. I crave deep and grace-filled conversations. I know I miss school when I find myself hunting for books to read that will challenge my brain and will also connect to my faith. As I designed this new space I thought that it might be fun and helpful for me to review and discuss the books that have truly touched my soul and shaken up my faith. It is my dream to one day have my own library, full of comfortable chairs, book shelves, books stacked up on side tables and laid open upon chairs. The amount of books I have collected over the years suggests that this dream will one day be a reality!

When thinking about what book to begin my book review section I wasn’t entirely sure which book to begin with. I decided that one of the best books to start with is my daily devotional. I love a daily devotional, but I am incredibly picky about which ones I use. Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence has been my trusty sidekick for the last three-ish years. It has traveled with me all over the US and even internationally to France, Scotland and England. Although I have gone through this little devotional three times it still remains relevant and always seems to say something new to me.

Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling, is rooted in scripture and has guided me to incredible passages that I have clung to and read over and over. Young’s words have reminded me to open my hands when I am squeezing them shut and the daily devotions seem to somehow connect perfectly to my life no matter what is going on (I am not the only person who finds this to be true, a dear friend also uses Jesus Calling and has mentioned how perfect the devotions always seem to be).

Sarah Young’s faith story is truly a remarkable one, she discusses how she came to know Jesus in the introduction to the devotional which you MUST read!! The introduction is something many people usually skip over, something I was guilty of until a college professor taught me how useful the information found in the intro is. Jesus Calling‘s introduction is no different, you have to read it to understand how Young came to write these incredible words. A short summary is that she began meditating on God, she listened to the things God laid upon her heart and recorded what was spoken to her. She wrote these amazing messages and combined them into this wonderful 365 day devotional.

The messages are short, simple and to the point. It is a fantastic devotional, one that I continually come back to. Jesus Calling is available in book form, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Adroid forms. There is also a teen and children’s version. Just the other day I was in Barnes and Noble and I discovered Young had published another 365 day devotional entitled, Jesus Always. After spending 1,095 days with Jesus Calling I have high hopes for Jesus Always.

May the Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Peace, Joy, Blessings and SO MUCH LOVE,

Margaret

 

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Peace

“Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps means a little bit more!” The Grinch

Every year I always wonder where the time goes. It seems that the time leading up to Christmas passes in a flurry of crazed shopping, decorating and seeking out Christmas cheer. By the time Christmas does come we are so exhausted and just ready for the peace that usually happens on the 26th.

One of my all time favorite Christmas movies is the live action version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Cindy Lou Who struggles with the meaning of Christmas; finding that the in your face celebrations, obsession with presents and the overall lack of substance just does not suit her instead it makes her seek out the real meaning of Christmas.

I really relate to Cindy Lou Who; I love receiving presents (who doesn’t) and I love finding the right gift to give but in recent years I have found myself desiring more. This year my uncle jokingly asked if I wanted world peace for Christmas. As I thought about it, isn’t that what we celebrate on Christmas? Aren’t we celebrating the birth of the Prince of Peace.

I think of all the violence on this earth, all the hatred, the darkness, the fear and my heart breaks. In my recent posts I have delved into hope and how difficult it can be in this cruel world and yet, if I focus on my heart, I can feel the warm glow of hope burning inside. This morning I laid on my brother’s couch in the quiet that occurs before the Christmas rush of opening presents and I read my final devotion in my Advent series. This series has been a welcome relief for me each day throughout this season of Advent, allowing me a moment of peace and quiet each day to just focus in on the heartbeat of God. This morning as I lay looking at the tree, the house quiet all around me I found that peace that I have been searching for throughout this Christmas season. Even now as I sit in the living room watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas and waiting for dinner to be ready I feel the warm embrace of peace.

The devotion (written by Reverend Scott Clark) this morning focused in on a moment of peace, reflection and admiration that occurred so long ago. The moment in which all became quiet and Mary held her baby boy in her arms and pondered the incredible words the shepherds delivered to her. I wonder if her heart craved peace like ours do. Ever since the angel came to deliver the news to Mary it must have been hectic and crazed. Goodness, she traveled to Bethlehem, where the inn had no room afor she and her future husband and went into labor! Labor is already stressful enough (especially in those times) imagine having no place to stay and having to give birth in a stable!

After she delivers this incredible baby, visitors come to visit, to worship and share the words that angels delivered to them! After the craziness that had followed Mary for months, after the visitors left and it was just Mary holding her baby I am sure she felt peace. She found the peace that we all search for–the peace that only Christ can bring.

I am not sure what you and your family do on Christmas Day afternoon/evening but I hope that you are able to find the peace that Jesus brings. I hope that you are able to take a moment, to stop, simply be, enjoy being surrounded by loved ones and rest in the wonderful news:

“For a child has been born for us, a son given to use authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

Merry Christmas my beautiful friends. May the PEACE of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

PEACE, JOY, BLESSINGS and SO MUCH LOVE,

Margaret

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Weary

Lately, I have been really listening to the lyrics of famous Christmas songs rather than simply letting the familiar tunes fade into the background of my mind. One of my favorites is ‘O Holy Night.’ I absolutely love if it is sung in a large group of people–when all the people sing the line “fall on your knees” it sends chills down my spine. But this Christmas I have been dwelling upon a different line,  “a weary world rejoices.”

If you have been reading my recent posts I think you can tell that I feel weary. As I have looked around me I have seen people who feel just as weary. Yesterday, my Advent devotional (I have been receiving emails from San Francisco Theological Seminary) was entitled Beautiful Feet. The passage used was  Isaiah 52:7-10. Verse 7 is the one that really spoke to me:

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.'”

The author of the devotional, Reverend Aimee Moiso, relays a story of her hike up Mt. Sinai in Egypt. She writes of tired, sore and cold feet which are seemingly in opposition to this concept of beautiful feet. However, she concludes that “there is something beautiful about the feet of the messengers on the mountains, the bearers of news so good they will put one dusty foot in front of the other for miles and miles to share it.” What a lovely thought. Just as in the song ‘O Holy Night,’ these weary feet continue to go forth to tell of the good news, that God loves us so much that God has sent her only son to lay down his life so that we may have everlasting life. Just because we are weary does not mean we cannot rejoice!

I think Reverend Aimee Moiso puts it beautifully stating, “the news is so good that disorientation and weariness and fear, while real, and not enough to stop the feet–the beautiful feet, step by trembling step, bringing the good news: yes, it is right to hope.” Despite a weary soul, heart and weary feet it is right to hope and it is right to rejoice in that hope. Though we have a long way to go, we must continue to put one weary foot in front of another, let our hearts follow the beat of God’s own heart (the San Fransisco Theological Seminary’s Advent series’ theme has been the heartbeat of God).

In spite of my weariness I find that I can not only feel the heartbeat of God I can hear it, it is a steady beat that draws me further and further out–closer and closer to the One who loves me with an everlasting love. Sisters and brothers let us draw near to God, let us take our weary souls forth and rejoice!

Though this world and our hearts are weary from so much hate, darkness, fear and violence there is still reason to hope and to rejoice. For faith, hope and love add light into this very dark world, giving our weary souls something to truly rejoice over!

May the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. May love be abundant in your life. And I pray that if you are weary, you are still capable of rejoicing.

Peace, Joy, Blessings and SO MUCH LOVE,

Margaret

 

 

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Incredible Faith

Two years ago, my life changed forever when I learned how to connect to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Two years ago, I read the wrong passage for my devotional and I stumbled upon the Gospel of John’s version of the crucifixion. John’s Gospel is the only one that specifies that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was standing at the cross. In that moment I was connected to Jesus through the eyes of his fully human mother. I felt my heart break as I thought about that fully human woman standing watching her son be brutally tortured and hang upon the cross. I think that I connect with Mary because she was fully human and I think she speaks to the part of my heart that wants to one day be a mother. Through this incredible woman I learned who my Savior was and I fell into his arms–my faith and life were transformed forever.

In the last two years I have entered into an intimate relationship with God that I never dreamed I would experience. As I listened to Pentatonix version of ‘Mary Did You Know’ last night I was reminded of that moment two years ago and I thought about this woman’s incredible faith. As the words were laid on my heart and I prepared to go write them–my mother brought up how she was truly amazed at Mary’s faith.

So many people scoff at Mary and the virgin birth, writing it off as pure fiction and in some cases judging those who believe it as a bit delusional. Even today I read a comment in response to an article I read, which completely wrote off the virgin birth. I can understand where these people come from–it truly is difficult to believe in such an amazing story. But if you take a closer look you will see that the faith it takes to believe in the story is the exact same faith it took to make the story happen. If Mary had not sung her faithful praise then the story would be completely different.

Luke 1:26-38

“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a townie Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 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. he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this gem since I am a virgin?’ 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. 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. For nothing will be impossible with God.’ 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.”

I think about my faith and how limited it is. There are times that I simply want to ignore and do ignore God’s call. There have been some very big calls that I couldn’t even say yes to, instead uttering a miserable “ok.” Yet, this woman (who was probably about 12-14 years of age) managed to trust in the Lord and the angel’s words, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word. In my study bible this verse has a footnote which reads:

“Mary’s unsolicited consent to the divine word establishes her as a model disciple who discerns God’s activity even in the midst of circumstances that place her precariously outside of social convention” (The Discipleship Study Bible).

She stepped out in faith and chose to believe in all that the angel said to her.

Just a few short lines later, we see Mary visiting her relative Elizabeth. Elizabeth greets her with a cry of:

“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb…And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” (Luke 1:41-45)

This is one of my all time favorite passages, in fact it is currently the lock screen of my phone. Blessed is she who believed there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord. This woman praised the Lord, despite the scandal her pregnancy would cause, despite how difficult this would make her life. That, my friends, is incredible faith. Just as Elizabeth said: Blessed is she who believed the Lord would fulfill the promises made to her.

 

I am in awe of Mary’s reaction to this scary news. Instead of running away, arguing or simply saying nope I don’t want this she accepts the words that the angel has spoken to her–then continues to sing praises to God.

Luke 1:46-49

“And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”

If you have not listened to Pentatonix version of ‘Mary, Did You Know?’ I urge you to go do so. It not only is a fantastic version of the song, just listen to the words and think about that young 12-14 year old woman who boldly believed in God and the promises made to her.

It is clearly obvious I have immense admiration, respect and love for Mary. This woman and her incredible faith have allowed me the chance to draw nearer to my Lord and Savior. So during this Christmas season I will give thanks for her incredible faith and I will sing praises to the God who I believe will fulfill all the promises she makes.

I hope that you (and I) are able to step out in faith, to draw nearer to God and trust that there will be a fulfillment of all that God has spoken to us. This Christmas season lets try and choose to have incredible faith.

May the Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Peace, Joy, Blessings and SO MUCH LOVE,

Margaret