Time to Prepare

Time to Prepare

Time to prepareWe have entered the Advent season. It is time to make sure there is room in our Inn for Jesus. It’s time to prepare our hearts and minds for Jesus. Let’s see what Mary can show us about being ready for God.

Gabriel brings Mary a promise, an order, and a prophecy:

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 [a promise], and you will name him Jesus [an order]. 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 [a prophecy].” (Luke 1:26-33, CEB, [explanations added])

And what does Mary?

Then Mary said to the angel, “How will this happen since I haven’t had sexual relations with a man?”  The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come over you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the one who is to be born will be holy. He will be called God’s Son. (Luke 1:34-35, CEB)

Note that the verb used here is the same than used in the creation of the world and as Moses and the apostles were prepared for their work for the Lord. The same Holy Spirit is preparing the incarnation of Jesus. The same Holy Spirit is preparing Mary to her future. The greatness of God’s salvation plan is beyond comprehension. Even just getting few glimpses of it make us reverent in awe.

Christianity is about what God has done and is doing for us and how we respond to God. God’s grace comes always first. Only then our response. That’s how it was to Mary. And that’s how it is for us, too. It’s all grace. But because of grace we can.

We are not to concentrate on our weaknesses and in-competences but on God’s power and might. We are not to look at the size of the problem but at the greatness of God. Mary believed that nothing is impossible for God.

Look, even in her old age, your relative Elizabeth has conceived a son. This woman who was labeled ‘unable to conceive’ is now six months pregnant. Nothing is impossible for God.”Then Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be with me just as you have said.” Then the angel left her. (Luke 1:36-38, CEB, emphasis added)

Mary readily surrenders to God’s will and plan for her life. Be sure to note that Mary does not surrender as a slave but as a child of God who recognizes God’s plan for her life and expresses her willingness to partner in God’s plan. God does not want slaves but willing partners.

Mary could have said “I can’t” or “I can’t bring such shame on my family”. But she didn’t. Mary did not concentrate on impossibilities but on God to whom everything is possible. God does not call the equipped. He equips the called. Because of grace we can.

Do we dare to say yes to God? Or are we going to say “Thanks, Gabriel, but no”?

 

Gracious God,
We believe, forgive our unbelief!
Burn all the roots of doubt from our hearts!
Prepare our hearts and minds,
Create space for Jesus!
Fill us with your Holy Spirit.
So that we would always be ready for you.
So that we would willingly say yes
when you invite us deeper into your work.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: How do you prepare your heart for Jesus?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you prepare your heart for Jesus!

* [As you might have noticed, I enjoy reading the Bible in different translations and love comparing them. I have started linking the Bible verses to Biblegateway.com so you can easily read (and compare) them in the different versions I’ve used while preparing each post.].

Photo courtesy of  Mari-Anna Stålnacke. This post is refurbished from 2011. Linking up today with Dance with Jesus, Faith-filled Fridays, Five Minute Friday

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