December 6: Prepare (Advent 2014 Devotional)

Luke 1:26-34 When Elizabeth was six months pregnant, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a city in Galilee, to a virgin who was engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David’s house. The virgin’s name was Mary. When the angel came to her, he said, “Rejoice, favored one! The Lord is with you!” She was confused by these words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Mary. God is honoring you. Look! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and he will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father. He will rule over Jacob’s house forever, and there will be no end to his kingdom.” Then Mary said to the angel, “How will this happen since I haven’t had sexual relations with a man?”


So we finally get to Jesus’ birth spoken of by the angel Gabriel. One of the things that happens is we hear this story every year and know the details. As we’re going through this story segment by segment, I continue to invite you to find yourself in it and hear God speaking directly to you.

I find it interesting that every time, in the Bible, an angel appears, the first thing they say is ,”don’t be afraid.” When your life is suddenly interrupted, how do you feel? Do you feel calm? Most likely not.

Mary was going about her day as normal, and all of a sudden her entire life is changing. God is calling her to this incredible life of being the earthly mother to the Messiah, Jesus Christ himself. I believe God is calling a person reading this today into vocational ministry. To be clear, each one of us is a minister to the world. Where we work, go out, eat, home, etc. are all places we are ambassadors to Jesus Christ.

We often have questions when God says he wants to use us. Why me? There has to be someone of better character. Someone smarter. Someone better off. But God uses people we don’t expect…you and me!

Almighty God, you speak daily. Open our understanding so we know where we are already in ministry and where you are calling us to go to be in ministry. Allow us to see and live into the gifts you have given. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.

Published by Ryan Stratton

Ryan Stratton is a pastor in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He serves with his wife, Amanda, along with their children. He writes about life, faith, and leadership through his blog.

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