Monday, December 20, 2010

Steps to the Manger: Mary - December 20, 2010

Luke 1:39-56 (New International Version, ©2010)
39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!

46 And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.

From now on all generations will call me blessed,49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name.

50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,from generation to generation.

51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.

52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.

53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.

54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful 55 to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”

56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

It must have been very unsettling for this young teenage girl. All she had known was the closeness of family, helping around the home, working to help provide a living. She had been promised to an older man, a carpenter maybe in his thirties. He had looked upon her very favorably, and her upcoming marriage would insure support for her and her aging parents. Would she ever be able to overcome the ridicule and shame, now that whe would be with child, though she had never even been close to anyone?

She would have in her heart, because the angel of God had comforted her and let her know that God would be with her. She would find understanding and support from her older cousin Elizabeth, and as her baby grew inside of her, she would have many quiet times with the Father, and would contemplate the tremendous responsibilty he would give her. Her faith would sustain her as she would walk ion obedience to God.

Are you facing something that God expects of you, but you know it will bring you ridicule, and maybe shame? Like Mary, will you take God at His word that He has planted in your heart, and step out in faith to serve Him? He has a purpose in what He is asking you to do. Be obedient to Him and be blessed.

There were several steps of faith on the way to the manger, to the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus. Each of the characters had to take a step of faith and trust to help fulfill God's plan. God's conversation with mankind, his reconnection and plan of redemption would start with these faithful servants.

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