The Gift of Our People

by Dec 15, 2019Christmas, Christmas 2019, Devotional

In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. ~ Luke 1:39, 40

Who is your person? The one you go to when your plans have gone to pot or your life has jumped the rails? Most of us have a person or a few persons. These are your “ride or die” people, the ones who you know are there for you no matter what. Whoever this person or these people are for you, they provide the gifts of comfort and perspective. They help us see possibilities when we only see obstacles; they help us find light in our dark places and walk with us towards it. Their encouragement and presence gives us hope and anchors us to the joy of Father even when we’re not sure how to navigate the circumstances of our lives.

When Mary received the news that she would be the Mother of “the Son of the Most High” who would, “reign over the House of Jacob forever,” I imagine it was more than a little overwhelming. The incredible blessing of Gabriel’s announcement was evident, but it also came with real difficulty. She was facing complex and confusing questions. What would this mean for her betrothal to Joseph? How could she explain this to people? How would she carry the social stigma that would fall on her and her child as one who became pregnant out of wedlock? Mary’s ambivalence is evident in her response to Gabriel, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord, let it be to me according to your word.” Mary accepts this blessing without complaint, but it is clear that she isn’t quite sure how to feel about it. She needed her person. Elizabeth was her person.

And so Mary arose and went as fast as she could to see Elizabeth, who helped Mary focus on the amazing gift she has been given. As one who lived for years with the stigma of not having a child, Elizabeth was perfectly positioned to remind Mary of just what God can do through the humble and the marginalized. Through Elizabeth’s presence and perspective, Mary’s confusion about her calling was transformed into joy. Mary’s community with Elizabeth anchored her in the goodness of God, making the unanswered questions seem insignificant in comparison to the joy of what God was doing in her life. And Mary’s heart sang!

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.”

One of the miracles of Christmas is how God included and invited people into the presentation of His Son to the world. He used everyday activities and relationships. He even provided for the needs of those He called through these relationships. God knew Mary would need help processing everything that was happening to her and so it is Gabriel who points Mary to her person, to Elizabeth. God knew Mary would need her person to fully embrace the joy of what He was doing in her life. God knows that we need our people to help us do the same.

Read Luke 1:39-56

Freedom From the Past

Our past marks us. Those experiences go into making us the people we are. But some of those experiences we would rather forget. Guilt, shame, and regret can carve deep gashes in our souls—permanent reminders of another life we would prefer to leave behind. But God...

Quieting the Busy Mind

Quieting the Busy Mind So far in this series, the articles have covered why rest is important, what type of rest suits you best, and how to distinguish your worth from the things that rest keeps you from completing. But how do we actively practice restorative rest...

LPKids Experience July 25

Our Elementary friends finish the month with something Paul wrote in Romans 8:38-39. The church in Rome needed some encouragement, and Paul delivered. He wrote, Nothing at all can ever separate us from God’s love. That’s because of what Christ Jesus our Lord has done...

The Dark Night

Following Jesus on the path towards spiritual health sometimes leads us up mountaintops. Here, God's presence is a tangible experience, and activities like prayer, scripture reading, and worship are fulfilling. However, as we continue to follow Jesus, we will...

Enjoy the Silence

Enjoy the Silenceost summers we vacation at the beach with my entire family. That’s 23 people in one house. It’s loud, it’s chaotic, it’s unpredictable, it’s fun. I have so many good memories with my wife and my kids and with my family as a whole...

LPKids Experience July 18

Our K-5 kids look to Ephesians 6:10-17 and see that as Paul wraps up the end of his letter, he focuses our attention on where we can find confidence. Paul encourages the believers to allow God to make them strong. We don’t have to face life on our own. God offers us...

Branching In

Spiritual health is impossible apart from discipleship. We can hardly say that, as Christians, we are spiritually healthy if we are not following the way of Jesus. The question is how do we follow Jesus in a healthy way? It is very easy for discipleship to become...

LPKids Experience July 11

This week our K-5 friends head to Matthew 14:22-33. Peter and the rest of the disciples were out on the Sea of Galilee when they noticed a figure walking on the water’s surface. When they finally realize that the figure is Jesus, Peter called out and asked Jesus to...

Knowing Yourself and Your God

Getting to know God ranks high on the list of life’s most meaningful quests. God has revealed Himself to us. He is knowable. And we can grow to know Him in deeper and deeper ways. But our knowledge of God is always connected to the knowledge of ourselves. As we get to...

LPKids Experience July 4

This month our Elementary friends continue our journey to finding our confidence in Jesus.  We will start with an incredible example found in Daniel 3. Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego had their faith put to the test when they chose to obey God rather than bow down to...

Read the Bible

We live in an age of information overload, and the amount of information increases every day. Yet the most important information ever written is contained in one book--the Bible. The words in the Bible, God's words, give us life--spiritual life, eternal life. Jesus...

Day 12 – Galatians 6:11-18

<Back to Reading Plan OverviewDay 12Galatians 6:11-18from the Galatians reading planRead the Word Galatians 6:11-18 | Philippians 3:2-3 | Romans 2:25-29ReflectIt’s so easy to judge other people by what they do or what they say. How can she be a Christian when she...

Day 11 – Galatians 6:1-10

<Back to Reading Plan OverviewDay 11Galatians 6:1-10from the Galatians reading planRead the Word Galatians 6:1-10 | Hebrews 12:11-13 | Proverbs 3:27ReflectIf you’ve ever had a garden, you know that planting seeds is pretty straightforward. If you want to grow...

Day 10 – Galatians 5:16-26

<Back to Reading Plan OverviewDay 10Galatians 5:16-26from the Galatians reading planRead the Word Galatians 5:16-26 | Romans 7:22-23 | Ephesians 5:8-10ReflectJesus has set us free from the penalty of sin. But that doesn’t mean sin is completely gone. As long as we...