The Girl Next-Door
Mary had grown up in the same village as Joseph, a carpenter’s son, who was several years older than she was. Perhaps they had admired one another from a distance ... perhaps Joseph had just been waiting for the darling Mary to grow up! And now that Mary was 13 or 14 years old, it was settled. Mary was to become his wife.
Engagement, or betrothal, at this moment in history held the commitment that marriage does today. Although Mary and Joseph were not living together and would stay pure until their wedding night, the only way out of a betrothal was divorce and the only reason that justified a divorce was adultery.
Mary was in the house one afternoon, maybe working on her wedding attire, or sewing towels for her new home when she sensed someone in the room with her. Conceivably, Mary looked around to see if anyone had joined her.
“And coming in, Gabriel said to her, “Greetings, favored one!” The Lord is with you.”
Christmas, for Mary, was the challenge of understanding what the favor of God is truly all about. Mary was about to learn that being highly favored by God does not mean a life of unbroken happiness nor does it promise that all of your dreams will come true. There is a tremendous price to be paid by those who are highly favored by God; what favor means, simply, is that God is willing to use you.
God is willing to use the young, the uneducated and the inexperienced in His grand plan for humanity. Just as the favor of God targeted the womb of Mary, I believe that the favor of God is targeting everyone and anyone who is willing to be part of God’s strategy at this historical juncture.
Christmas, for Mary, was about discovering the intimacy of the Lord’s presence as never before. Mary was about to be confronted with the reality that favor happens when God places a piece of Himself into an earthly life. No longer was God a mere concept or a Divine Being Who never engaged Himself in the affairs of every day life. Because of Gabriel’s message, the presence of God Himself had invaded the life of this young girl, who, prior to this moment had nothing but Joseph, her beloved, on her innocent mind.
Experiencing the favor of God in new ways is one of the best parts of Christmas for me! To think that God would desire to use me at this time in history is a gift that I never imagined I would find under the Christmas tree of life!
Discovering a fresh lifestyle of intimacy in the presence of Jesus is God’s life-changing Christmas gift to you this year.
Christmas is proclaiming to your world, “The Lord is with me ... and with you! What a wonderful surprise!”
Bible Reading: (click on Scripture reference to open in reader)
Let There Be Joy In Me:
What difficult thing has the Lord asked you to do? Perhaps it is the favor of God that requires diligence in serving Him not only in easy assignments but especially in difficult ones.
Spend some time today listening to Christmas hymns and Carols. Expect God to meet you during moments of worship.
If this devotional has been an encouragement to you, would you consider giving a year-end gift to Just Joy! Ministries this Christmas season?