If you haven’t yet been able to watch a video of this weeks candle lighting liturgy led by Zach and Michael as well as a devotional from pastor Rogerio, we encourage you to do so this weekend as we close out the second week of Advent. You can find that video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDV8zuNB620
This weeks theme for Advent is expectancy. You might be thinking to yourself “Isn’t the whole of the Christian life supposed to be expectant? Why are themes like expectancy, longing, and preparation so prevalent during Advent? Shouldn’t we be expecting God to move in our lives at all time?” Well, to put it simply, YES! However, Advent is a season within the Church calendar that specifically reminds us of these qualities of our faith and provides a powerful entry point into the Christian story. Think of it this way: When you and your spouse find out that you are pregnant and expecting a child, the whole nine months are full of preparation with appointments, baby showers, getting the nursery ready, and so much more. But when you are a few weeks out and you know that child could come at any time, the expectancy and longing to meet your new baby is heightened and you are doing everything you can to prepare for that beautiful moment to happen. Advent is like those few weeks before meeting your new child; it is full of preparation, longing, and eager expectancy.
This quite literally was the case for Mary, who was both waiting for her child and for her savior. Can you imagine the kinds of feelings Mary and Joseph were experiencing on their long journey to Bethlehem? Can you imagine the total dependency that would had on the Lord during that season? Can you imagine the intense spiritual preparation they did in order to become both parents and worshipers of Christ?
Mary has two primary responses during this time of longing and expectation:
- ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word’” (Luke 1:38 NRSV)
- “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior (Luke 1: 46-47)
Mary, as she was in this intense time of waiting in the unknown and of expectation for what is yet to come, responds in faith. She prepares her heart by giving it away and then worships the one she gives it to. Mary believed that what the Lord said would take place, despite being in a period of intense waiting. Let us be like Mary, church.
As we close out this second week of Advent, let us enter Mary’s situation and imagine all of the intense feelings of expectancy and longing she was experiencing as she waited for both her son and her Savior. Then, let us reflect on her responses to that expectancy. As we do so, consider these questions:
- Have you given all of the expectancy in your heart to the Father? Are you still trying to manipulate outcomes, or can you say, with Mary, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord” ?
- What, specifically, are you expecting in this season and what can you do to prepare for it?
- Despite all of the longing and intense expectation brimming from your heart, is your soul still able to “magnify the Lord”? Are you too preoccupied with what has been promised that you have forgotten the One who given the promises?
Come Lord Jesus, Come.
Mike Terry, New City Stories Contributor