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“I am the Lord’s servant”

December 20, 2022

Daily Scripture

Luke 1:26-38

26 When Elizabeth was six months pregnant, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a city in Galilee, 27 to a virgin who was engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David’s house. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 When the angel came to her, he said, “Rejoice, favored one! The Lord is with you!” 29 She was confused by these words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Mary. God is honoring you. 31 Look! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great and he will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father. 33 He will rule over Jacob’s house forever, and there will be no end to his kingdom.”
34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How will this happen since I haven’t had sexual relations with a man?”
35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come over you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the one who is to be born will be holy. He will be called God’s Son. 36 Look, even in her old age, your relative Elizabeth has conceived a son. This woman who was labeled ‘unable to conceive’ is now six months pregnant. 37 Nothing is impossible for God.”
38 Then Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be with me just as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

Sunday was Resurrection Brookside (at Historic Central)’s first worship service! Pastor Hamilton titled his sermon there “Miracle on 34th Street,” based on the film of that title, and even though Resurrection Brookside is on 52nd!

Daily Reflection & Prayer

In Miracle on 34th Street, “when customers are unable to find the products that they want at Macy’s, Kris Kringle tells customers where to find items at other stores.” * He did the right thing, even though at first it upset the store manager. In Luke 1, God’s messenger promised the birth of 2 babies, even though basic biology ruled out pregnancy (Elizabeth was too old, Mary was a virgin). This shifted many of Mary’s plans, and she struggled to understand—but she did the right thing (verse 38).

  • The angel’s greeting (“Rejoice, favored one!”) baffled Mary, who lived in Nazareth, a village so minor it did not even appear on any map we’ve found of Palestine from that time. Does your life experience of love and trust in close relationships help or hinder you from taking in the good news about God’s incredible love for you? What helps you trust that God is with you and for you through all the ups and downs of life?
  • Mary (and people in her day) understood the basics of how babies happen as well as we do—a virgin could NOT be pregnant. Yet that was what Gabriel promised (verse 31). Mary didn’t try to hide her puzzled questions (verse 34), but she was open to the angel’s answer. Her final response was an awesome model of humble obedience for us: “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be with me just as you have said.” What does it take for you to respond to God’s call as Mary did?

Lord God, from darkness to light, from illness (physical or spiritual) to health, from death to life—in your eternity (if not always here), nothing is impossible. I praise you for the joy and hope you offer me. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Denise Mersmann

Denise Mersmann

Denise serves as the Care Coordination Director for the churchwide Care Central department at Resurrection.

In the world, there are “okey-dokey” people and there are people who are not.

The okey-dokey people tend to take what they hear and say…OK. They don’t ask a lot of questions, they trust what they are told to be accurate, and they don’t doubt.

Then there are people like me. We are not okey-dokey people. We want the rest of the story. We question how, what, and why. It’s not that we don’t trust people necessarily, it’s more that we want to know all the details.

As I read Mary’s story I am awed by her trust. She is being told, by an angel, that something that she knows isn’t possible is going to happen. And it’s happening to her because God favors her. Mary asks a couple of questions, but I just can’t imagine that the answers given her by the angel really made her say, “Okey-dokey, this all makes sense now.”

As much as I am in absolute wonder at her faith, I can’t help but also be a little jealous. You see, I want more of what Mary has. I want to believe, without a doubt, without hesitation, all that I have been told about God. Specifically, about my relationship with God.

I want to believe that God loves me as much as I am told He does. But here’s the deal: I know me. And I’m not always the most lovable person around. If God sees everything that I do and knows my deepest thoughts, which I believe He does, it’s hard to believe that He can love me that much.

I want to believe that I am forgiven completely for all the stuff I do that I shouldn’t do. Again, it’s hard to just say, “I am sure God forgives me” when I know that I keep doing rotten stuff over and over. I wouldn’t keep forgiving me! At some point, I ‘d be telling myself, “You are on your own.”

That’s what I would do to me. That’s how I would feel about me. Because I’m not God. And I can’t imagine even beginning to love like God loves. As much as I love my family and friends, to the point where I would do anything for them, that’s human love. It doesn’t scratch the surface of God’s love.

God’s love is the kind of love we can’t understand. It’s so much bigger than our hearts and minds can comprehend. It’s a love that overwhelms me when the light of Christ is passed to me on Christmas Eve. It’s a love that makes my voice crack when I pass on that light to the next person and tell them, “The light of Christ” as their candle bows to the flame.

At that moment, I feel invincible-–I have shared the light of Christ with someone. I have pushed back the darkness.

Somehow, God uses that moment to remind me that there are things I can’t understand, answers I don’t need to have, because my tiny little mustard seed of faith will be enough. This Christmas, I pray that you and I will be “okey-dokey” people, simply accept the love, hope, and forgiveness God has for us and just say, “OK, thank you, God.” And then do our very best to pass that light of Christ to everyone we meet.

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.