Central Women – Advent Devos Day 4

img_4737At the time of Jesus’ birth, Nazareth was nothing more than a tiny, insignificant village. It would be what we might call “Podunk” today. There was a reason that when Philip shared with his friend Nathaniel that he had found the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, Nathaniel’s response went something like this, “Are you kidding me? Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” (John 1:43-46) But something good did come from there, didn’t it?!
Of all the places God could have gone, of all the women God could have chosen to bear the Messiah, God sent the angel Gabriel to this tiny village to knock on the door of a normal, humble, young woman named Mary. What does it mean that God went to Nazareth instead of one of the big cities of the day where there would be refined and cultured women? Even before Jesus is born, God is teaching us anew, reminding us of his long-established values. God favors the meek, the humble, those who “do just
ice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God” (Micah 6:8), who love others as they love themselves, and who “take up [their] cross daily” to follow him. God saw in Mary the kind of humble servant that he desires all people to be. And despite all the challenges, Mary did not disappoint.
Nothing is impossible with God
Could you imagine being in Mary’s shoes? What would it be like to be visited by an angel, a messenger from God, and told that you were going to become pregnant (not in the usual way, but because God has chosen you)?  And “the power of the Most High will overshadow you” (Luke 1:35) until you conceive and bear none other than the very Messiah! This is nothing short of crazy! If we were to take such news out into the world today, people would call us crazy—we might be admitted into the local mental institution.
But here’s the thing, the scenario really wasn’t all that different for Mary. In her day, the penalty for pregnancy out of wedlock was death. At best, under normal circumstances, Mary would have been abandoned by Joseph because of her “infidelity”; and, assuming she made it through the dangerous ordeal of childbirth, she would have been ostracized by her family and left to raise her child as a single mother. She would have been mocked and ridiculed and become an outcast.
But that didn’t stop Mary. Those challenges didn’t keep Mary from doing what she knew in her heart was the right thing to do, opening herself for the work of God that was to happen through her. As a humble servant, Mary “took up her cross” and followed this most unlikely path described by Gabriel.  And in this early part of the gospel, Mary is the star of the show.
How (or do you) daily take up your cross and follow Him?
Micah 6:8 says:
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.”
For you, what does it mean to act justly?
For you, what does it mean to love mercy?
For you, what does it mean to walk humbly?


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