Happy Monday Friends,
I am so glad you are back for week 2 of this Advent series.
*****If you prefer to LISTEN to this email devotional, CLICK HERE************** You may notice this is on an app, called Anchor. The podcast version of this devotional is also available on Apple podcasts, and Spotify, but apparently Apple is experiencing significant delays in uploading podcasts right now. Week 1 is available, but week 2 is not yet. Make sure you subscribe to ClaritywithCharity, on apple podcasts and then you will have access to all the audio when it finally uploads! But you can listen to it on Anchor right now…clear as mud???….LOL.
If you missed last week’s you can find it HERE.
This week our family is closing on our house and moving (pray for us!) It certainly feels like a crazy time of year to be moving. But I can’t complain, no matter how crazy this week is, its nothing compared to what Mary was going through the first Christmas. Week 2 of our Advent series is about Bethlehem and a very important person in the Christmas story, Mary, who found herself unexpectedly and I am sure she thought unfortunately far from home in Bethlehem when she went into labor.
46 And Mary said:
soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”
Luke 2: 4-7
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
Have you ever carried a promise or dream from God that seemed utterly impossible to happen? Or maybe you find yourself this Christmas season in an impossible situation: whether that be family chaos and pain, a financial crises you see no way out of, grief so overwhelming you find it hard to function, a devastating medical diagnosis, or something else.
If you have ever given birth before, you may be familiar with a stage in labor called transition. I remember the stage of transition well because with 2 of my 3 deliveries I didn’t have an epidural during transition. I doubt I will ever know such physical and mental pain again. Transition is the stage of labor right before you push, your body is already exhausted from laboring and then the most excruciating physical pain of labor comes during transition, it is also the time of labor that women mentally and emotionally start to feel like they can’t make it. They wonder if the baby will ever come, start to think they can’t make it through labor, and if they are trying to give birth naturally they will most likely ask for the epidural at this point ( and I was absolutely the one begging and screaming for the epidural at this point! LOL!)
Today, I want to encourage those of you who feel like you are in transition with a dream or promise from God. Anyone who finds themselves saying I just don’t know how to go on anymore believing God for this promise to be fulfilled or this dream to be birthed. Maybe your hope feels non – existent and your faith feels almost depleted.
When Mary became pregnant with Jesus through the Holy Spirit she became a human example of what it means to carry the dream or promise of God. Like so many people we read about in the Bible, she faced many obstacles in carrying and birthing God’s promise of salvation for us.
Can you imagine the shame and ridicule she faced daily as her belly grew, she a teenage un wed mother? No one but Joseph (who was told in a dream by God) and Elizabeth (and maybe others unnamed in the Bible), believed that she was pregnant with the Son of God. She must have endured fierce lies and rejection from those around her. Yet she faithfully proclaimed and declared the promises of God, even when those around her must have questioned her very sanity. To make matters worse, she had to travel on donkey….8 months pregnant, to show up in a town that had no where for her to rest and deliver her baby but a barn. Personally, I don’t even want to ride on a bumpy road at 8 months pregnant, much less a donkey over uneven desert terrain.
Can you imagine the questions that must have filled her mind? Some of mine would have been, “really God…really? I go through mockery and ridicule and then I have to ride on a donkey experiencing severe Braxton hicks contractions the whole journey, afraid I am going to have a baby on the side of a dirt road in the middle of the desert? Is this how you care for your son and his mother? And then we arrive in Bethlehem and there’s no where for us to stay, so you want your son and his mother to be born amongst cattle? Where are you, God, and are you really going to take care of us?”
I don’t know if those are questions she asked, but none of us would blame her for thinking them! Those are the type of questions I have asked God when I have carried a promise or dream from Him and then I run into hardships, obstacles and in the natural realm it seems like God has forgotten His word.
But God’s Word was fulfilled to Mary, The Savior of the World was birthed through her, He took care of her and He has used the unusual and difficult circumstances surrounding Jesus’ birth to bring Him glory and reveal His character.
Today, friends, my encouragement to you is this. You may be in your “transition” in the middle of a wilderness, and it may seem that God has forgotten or abandoned you. But I promise you, He is right there, longing to give you everything you need to endure the transition, the strength to push so you can joyfully receive the promise, with a testimony of God’s faithfulness and power that you never could have manufactured or created on your own.
Sweet friend, I want you to know I am with you today. There are promises from God, dreams I have carried from Him that I am still waiting and believing to see fulfilled, and they have all been much longer than 9 months of waiting, even longer than 9 years.
Lord, is there anywhere in my life I am in transition or labor? Waiting, weary and tierd for a promise from you to be fulfilled or a dream to be birthed?
Lord, in this place that feels exhausted and faithless what do you have for me?
Lord, I confess that I am weary, that my faith is small, that in myself I cannot make this happen. Would you come Holy Spirit right now and fill me up with a fresh gift of faith to believe your word to me! To continue to worship you, stand on the Word of God and fight with hope and confidence, that you are who you say you are, and you will fulfill your promises.
Encouraged by this? Please send to a friend, who could use some fresh hope this Advent.
Want MORE ADVENT inspiration? Here is last year’s Week 2 ADVENT DEVOTIONAL, CLICK HERE!
I am praying for you,