Mary

She was an ordinary young woman, following the life she was supposed to live to a T. Grow up learning how to be a wife and mother – check! Get engaged to a righteous man – check! The only thing left was to marry this man and secure her future. But then something happened that broke her life from its prescribed mold.

annunciation                             The Annunciation by Henry Tanner

God stepped in to Mary’s world and changed the nature of life, not just for her, but for every person who would ever walk the earth. In her youthfulness and normalcy, God chose her to give birth to His son.

So often the focus is placed on what the angel revealed to Mary, and that is not to be minimized. To bear the Son of God, Mary would have to endure the shame and ridicule of unmarried pregnancy. To bring him into the world, she would have to travel to a distant city and give birth to him in a stable.

Even this though, was just the beginning.

On that silent night in Bethlehem, as Mary tenderly held her firstborn son, she could have never known what lay ahead.

Raising the Son of God would often be frustrating (Luke 2:41-50) and sometimes downright dangerous (Matthew 2:13-16). Mary and Joseph were commonplace people, but Jesus was anything but your average boy. Parenting him would have been unlike any other parenting experience. And the worst part of Mary’s reality was that, unbeknownst to her, she was preparing a sheep for the slaughter. At the end of her son’s earthly life, she would have to watch him suffer and die for the sins of the world.

Throughout her life, Mary’s trust, compassion, love, and courage would be tested and tried, pushed to the breaking point.

And yet, when asked to bear God’s son, Mary said yes. Through the fear and apprehension she said, “I am the Lord’s servant,” and with those words, an ordinary woman became the mother of God.

What does God want to do with your ordinary life?

Will you say yes when He calls you to do the impossible?

You never know what significance your obedience could have to future generations.

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Gratitude

I awoke this morning to a light dusting of beautiful snow.

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From the moment I opened my eyes I knew the light coming in the window had that special snow hue. I jumped out of bed, and it took all my strength to not throw open the blinds and crank up the Christmas music (my roommate was still asleep.) I felt an invigorating excitement that made me want to dance! The atmosphere was magical, and I felt profound gratitude for the beautiful life I’m living.

How often am I consumed with the negative? Burdens triumph over blessings. I complain more than I celebrate. Distress overpowers delight. So often I let the hard things get me down, but for whatever reason the snow this morning reminded me of something profound: We serve a good God who gives good gifts. I have so much to be thankful for! So today I am making a renewed effort to give thanks for my many blessings.

So without further ado…

I am thankful for the many deep, bellyaching, laugh-till-we-cry moments that I’ve had with my floormates this week.

1238307_10153255481610277_1245277046_nWednesday night we had the entire cafeteria staring at us because we were laughing so hard!

I am thankful for siblings who love me so well.

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They have a countdown of the amount of time till I come home for Christmas.

I am thankful for Christmas lights.

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They make me so happy!

I am thankful for the opportunity to go to Romania and Moldova in May!

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More on this to come soon!

I am thankful for good Christmas memories.

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Christmas Caroling!

And above all else, I am thankful for a God who loves me more than I can comprehend!

What are you thankful for?