About the author: Barb Luther is a longtime family member of ZPC. She has served on the ZPC Board of Deacons and in many other ZPC ministries. Currently she is one of the leaders for 2nd Half Adventurers, ZPC's senior ministry.
About this post: This blog post is part of a series of daily devotionals where we are exploring traditional Advent themes of hope, joy, peace, and love. To sign up to receive text notification of these posts, text zpc advent to 39970. Advent booklets are also available at the ZPC Welcome Center. We welcome your comments and questions each day.
TODAY'S SCRIPTURE: LUKE 1:26-38
Today’s story focuses on Mary when she first heard the news from the angel Gabriel that God had chosen her to be the mother of Jesus, the Son of the Most High. What incredible news for this young peasant girl to hear and how it would change her life! She was betrothed to Joseph and probably very happily looking forward to their life together as most engaged couples are. But suddenly every thing had changed in an instant. This news put Mary at great risk, facing rejection from her community, the strong possibility of being outcast from her family and even being stoned to death. And yet, incredibly, this young girl said “Yes” to God in the face of all this. What would cause her to submit to God in these humanly impossible circumstances? Did she ever again experience “the peace of God which transcends all understanding”? (Phil 4:7)
I wonder if Mary recalled God’s words through the prophet Isaiah and felt reassured that this was his plan all along?
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, … and he will be called ….Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
I wonder if she experienced his peace about this news because she trusted in God and his word in spite of her circumstances. For peace is not the absence of problems but it is the presence of Christ in the midst of our problems. For he himself is our peace. (Ephesians 2:13-14) We experience peace when we rest in Jesus and his promises.
Ten years ago our family’s life was forever changed when we received the news that our husband and father was in stage 4 of melanoma. After fighting the battle for 11 months, we were nearing the end in the month of December. In our humanness, I must be honest and admit we did not always experience peace throughout these months. But I knew we were not alone, that God was with us in the midst of our struggle and grief, and that we couldn’t be in a safer place than his arms. I claimed his promises that he will never leave us and perhaps Mary did also. For no word from God will ever fail and her response was May your word to me be fulfilled. (Luke 1:37-38) What amazing trust! Is there a situation you are facing today where you need his peace? Call out to the Prince of Peace and he will give you rest.
It has been helpful to me in difficult times to see God’s Word and especially his promises literally in front of me. I have written meaningful scripture verses and posted them in various locations of my home like the refrigerator or bathroom mirror. During my husband’s illness I especially claimed God’s promises in Isa 43:1-3 and carried these verses with us wherever we went between hospital room to doctor’s offices to home. Perhaps today you can write one of his promises of peace on a notecard and carry it with you or post it in a convenient location. His peace will go with you. That’s his promise!
We praise you as our heavenly Father who is always faithful and will never break a promise to us. We thank you that you are always with us as you have promised and that you provide your peace as we trust in you. Help us to focus on you in the midst of our trials and not on ourselves. May we be always grateful that peace was purchased through Jesus and given to us as an unconditional gift.
We pray this in the name of our Prince of Peace – Jesus.