I mentioned I knew little of Advent before. I acted as if I did when my cousin gifted me with a package containing images to display, to mark each day.
Now, this year I can’t find the Advent activity and most likely won’t be going back to search through the attic.
Instead, I saw something going around on social media. I’ll read and reflect on a chapter of Luke for 24 days, a look at the life and death and resurrection of the baby that became my Savior.
December 2, I began:
Reading a chapter of the Book of Luke a day, 24 days, for Advent, a new way to honor the tradition, to truly connect with Christmas.
In the 1st chapter, Elizabeth and Zechariah, although old, realize they’ll be parents to John, the one who’ll make way for Jesus.
Elizabeth feels her baby move as soon as Mary, with child, enters the room. Mary is surprised, uncertain, but settles into the surprise of being chosen. It’s the beginning, the beautiful beginning. Everything must’ve felt uncertain, maybe even giddy.
A baby changes everything.
December 3, Luke 2:
The chapter covers a whole lot of life. I wish Luke had lingered longer in several places. I’d like to have known more about Jesus in the manger, about little boy Jesus in the temple, about Jesus being described by his father Joseph, about the way Mary’s face appeared, her emotion as she took it all in, as she listened and pondered.
I wish I could have been amongst the people.
I believe for miles around the angels’ song was heard, the one that followed their calming of the throng, assuring them not to be afraid, through a song.
“”Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Luke 2:14 ESV
One verse captivates me this year. Possibly because I will soon “go by grandma”.
It makes all of this divine story so human. After the angels announced the birth, they ascended back to heaven. The shepherds made way to see the baby and there must have been a commotion, a flurry of comments and conversation.
Like we are today, waiting room waiters, nursery window peering and chances to be invited in finally, oh, to see the baby!
I imagine there were questions of Joseph and a paparazzi like reaction. To be the first to see what had been spoken of, hoped for and possibly disbelieved…what a special occasion!
There he was, a baby born to a teenage virgin, the one God sent his angels to welcome into our world.
Mary, oblivious to the crowd, cradles her baby.
I love this part. the part every woman who has ever given birth knows.
I love the realization of the miraculous.
Mary swaddled Jesus and simply “pondered”. Luke includes no description of her expression, I imagine a serenity, a glow.
“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”
Luke 2:19 ESV
Today, on this 2nd Day of Advent, I’m praying with “I will” rather than “help me”. I’m remembering Mary and her acceptance of what became her opportunity, the time she was chosen for.
I’ve decided to shift my mindset of “hope so” to deliberately so. It might be what I have been missing, might allow me to forgo regret over what I’ve not finished and replace it with resolve to carry it through.
That’s what Mary did.
She believed what God told her He would accomplish in her.
Luke may have left out their late night discussions, she and Joseph still so blown away by this pregnancy. Mary might have had some “hormonal” moments, fear, fatigue and even, dread.
She was human, she was uncertain.
But, I believe she decided to be deliberate.
Deliberate in her seeking
Deliberate in her surrender
Deliberate in her notice of God all along her journey
Deliberate in her quiet pondering
My prayer today.
Tell me what to say.
I want to be deliberate in all my ways.
Luke, Chapter 2 ends with their son becoming their teacher. He takes off on his own, they panic until they find him in the temple.
He tells them why he’s there.
And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?””
Mary begins to learn a lesson, a human one again, one I’ve learned of late, the need to allow our children to individuate.
Again, she’s quiet.
And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.
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It’s true, Lord. I learn when I get quiet. Help me to be deliberate in the quiet.