November 28th, 2011
Welcome to EMU’s 2011 Advent devotion series. Beginning Monday, Nov. 28, university and seminary students, faculty, and staff will share weekly reflections on the coming of our Lord Jesus. We begin today with a devotion from the EMU campus pastor.
By Brian Burkholder, EMU Campus Pastor
When I visit the opening chapters of the gospels of Luke and Matthew, I find myself inspired by Mary, Joseph and Elizabeth. I ponder what it would have been like to be in their places – to be chosen for a special purpose of God; to receive a clear message from God; and to respond out of reverence, servanthood and faithfulness to God.
Mary, who was engaged to be married, was perplexed and perhaps initially fearful when the angel Gabriel came to her and greeted her as “favored one.” After hearing his explanation of how the Holy Spirit would come upon her and the power of the Most High would overshadow her, she questioned the wisdom of the angel regarding conception before making herself available as servant of the Lord.
Joseph, ready to quietly dismiss Mary from their engagement so as not to expose her to public disgrace upon learning that she was expecting a baby, also encountered an angel of the Lord. In his dream, which must have been vivid and unmistakably from God, he was given clear directions to take Mary as his wife and to name the child Jesus.
Elizabeth, six months or so after having her own encounter with a messenger from God, and while carrying a son in what had been her barren womb, encountered the Lord himself for the first time. When she heard Mary’s greeting and felt her son jump in her womb, she was filled with the Holy Spirit leading her to boldly proclaim the child within Mary as her Lord.
Oh to have the faith of these three servants of God!
Granted, it helps when God shows up and speaks with such clarity. Many of us yearn for such clearness when making decisions of faithful living. Yet there is an essential posture of servanthood demonstrated here – a willingness to be of use for God’s ways, a practice of listening for and to God’s voice, and boldness in accepting and naming the Lord as Lord.
In this season of Advent, a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the coming of Lord Jesus, might we all be inspired to embody such a posture.