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Expectant Like Mary

30 Nov

Expectant Like Mary

This year, I made myself a promise that I would buy 95 percent of Christmas gifts before Thanksgiving. I’ve even managed to ship a few care packages and boxes of presents already. I think I learned from previous years that if I want a peaceful, Christ-focused Advent season, I have to be organized, planned, and efficient.

Two years ago, my father passed away on December 2. Advent was a blur. I don’t even remember if I shopped. This is a difficult time of year for that and other reasons, and I am choosing to spend December reading about shepherds watching their flocks by night, singing worship carols, and focusing on Immanuel, God with us. I want to create more family time, play board games, do a jigsaw puzzle, watching the Charlie Brown Christmas Special, The Christmas Story, and Elf. I can’t wait to cuddle my dogs on cold nights and breathe in Christmas candles and essential oils diffusing in every room. I look forward to my daughter baking cookies and filling the house with the delightful smells of Christmas.

I want to be expectant in my heart and soul, like Mary, mother of the Christ, my heart trusting in my God.

Luke 1:46-50, ESV

And Mary said,

“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.

And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.”

What about you? Did you anticipate the fun or the stress of last-minute grocery runs for the cranberry sauce, post-Thanksgiving cleanup, Black Friday shopping, crowds, traffic, and the tensions that can be both beautiful and stretch us taut when around extra family during the holidays? Did you put up your Christmas tree? Lights?

Is there anticipation in the air—or just weariness?

Whatever season you are in, wherever the needle on your stress gauge is at the moment:

Do you feel the wonder of Advent upon us?

Like Mary, does your heart and soul magnify the Lord?

Does your spirit rejoice in God, your Savior?

Do you marvel at Him calling you blessed, simply because you put your trust in Him?

Do you know how mighty He is, advocating on your behalf?

Can you list the great things He has done for you?

Can you meditate on His holiness?

Do you feel the gravity of His amazing mercy?

What can you be doing now to find Advent as December greets us? How can you know the peace and trust that Mary exhibited with her news of an immaculate conception and all that it would mean for Israel?

I believe the how is tucked within her Magnificat, her song to the LORD. It can be found inside this one phrase of tender humility:

for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.

Do you recognize your humble position before a holy God? Do you see yourself as His servant?

I strongly suspect this is the key to how we enter Advent, no matter what is waiting for us:

  • Your mother criticizes your turkey being dry one too many times? Bow low.
  • That angsty fellow shopper snatches the last Pokémon Ultra Moon off the shelf, and the sign says no rain checks? Bow low.
  • That sports car zooms into the parking spot you were about to approach? Bow low.
  • Extra houseguests keep piling dirty dishes into your sink? Bow low.
  • The neighbor brings your dog over to the house, all while once again grumbling about how you really should have one of those electric fences? Bow low.
  • CVS calls you twenty times in one weekend to let you know your prescription still hasn’t been picked up yet? Bow low.
  • You sat down to catch an old friend up on some of the issues wreaking havoc in your personal life right now, but she focuses entirely on her own storytelling and you can’t get a word in edgewise? Bow low.

There is a great passage in Romans, where the Apostle Paul shares a rather lengthy description of that kind of humility, one that originates with a Savior having come, who will come again, and our expectancy that what He said in His Holy Word is true.

That He is everything that He said He is.

That He looked upon my humble estate, your humble estate, spread His arms across two wooden planks, and took our place as a sacrifice, a payment for our sin.

If we anticipate this, like Mary, during this Advent, our soul can truly magnify the LORD. We can find the peace of a yielded heart and soul, and we can spread that peace to people around us with a perhaps yet unidentified, deep yearning for Advent in their hearts.

Romans 12:9-21, ESV

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. 

I’d love to hear what steps you are taking to prepare your heart for this Advent, for the Christ child, and for His coming kingdom.

 

*This blog was first a featured column at Your Tewksbury Today

**It has also been shared at any link highlighted here: Mom 2 Mom Monday Link-Up, Make a Difference Mondays, Worshipful Wednesdays, Women With Intention Wednesdays, Grace & Truth, A Little R & R, RaRa Link-Up, Me, Coffee & Jesus, Dance With Jesus, Blessing Counters, Breakthru Link-up, Saturday Soiree, Tell His Story, Find Stability, So Much at Home, Faith-Filled Fridays, Reflect His Love and Glory Link-Up, Bonbon ‘n Coffee Linkup, Sunday Thoughts Link-Upand Christian Mommy Blogger.

Anecdotal stories about an everyday relationship with God can be found in Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day (includes Book Club Discussion Questions).

 

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10 responses to “Expectant Like Mary

  1. tlwommack

    December 1, 2017 at 9:42 am

    Bonnie this is so Beautiful….it touches me all the way to my soul.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      December 4, 2017 at 4:44 pm

      Tammie, thank you so much! I really cherish the feedback. Love to you!

      Like

       
  2. Judith Okech

    December 5, 2017 at 2:23 am

    You’re right. As we wait for the birth of Jesus Christ, we loathe sin and embrace all the goodness we have learned. It doesn’t mean we go back to sin after Christmas; we continue with the new journey we have begun. Waiting for Christmas in holiness.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      December 11, 2017 at 10:08 pm

      Thank you for these reflections, Judith! They are so beautiful and true. I love the part about holiness! Thanks for stopping by Espressos of Faith!

      Like

       
  3. Amber Johnson

    December 5, 2017 at 3:44 am

    Wonderful perspective Bonnie. During this season, our family is focusing on humility and gratitude. And love. Love as defined in 1 Corinthians 13…the kind of love that would lead Christ to come down from Heaven and dwell upon Earth only to die a death that He didn’t deserve, for the purpose of saving us. That’s a different kind of love, one worth really exploring. Thank you for the reminder to be that humble servant. I’m looking forward to what the season holds and what God desires to do with and through our family.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      December 11, 2017 at 10:09 pm

      Thank you, Amber. I really appreciate your comments and hearing about your own family’s way of keeping the season holy and focused. Blessings to you!

      Like

       
  4. messymarriage

    December 5, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    What a lovely list of things you are doing this Advent season, Bonnie Lyn! I think I’ll insert some of these kinds of restful efforts in my days leading up to Christmas as well. I appreciate your thoughts, my friend. They are refreshing and much-needed this hurried time of year!

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      December 11, 2017 at 10:16 pm

      Thank you for your kind words, messy marriage! 🙂 I am so glad you found something here. You really encourage me. Blessings!

      Like

       
  5. Charlene Bullard - FaithtoRaiseNate.com

    December 6, 2017 at 4:37 am

    Beautiful! I’m trying to usher myself in this season. It seems as if the busyness of life is stopping me from really enjoying it. Prayerfully this will happen soon 😀

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      December 11, 2017 at 10:17 pm

      Hi, Charlene. Thank you so much for your transparency. Some years it has been much harder than in others. It makes sense that everything keeps us from being still. Praying that you find that still this year!

      Like

       

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