Here we are at the end of the month, the end of the year. As I grow older (notice that I use the adverb) the time truly does go faster. Joy, sorrows, pain, losses, triumphs and celebrations; it has all been here in 2014. Tonight will find me at a niece’s wedding. What a way to close out December! Then my thoughts drift ahead. Yes Lord you have blessed me and I am working on that contentment thing, but what about January? What about 2015? Wow Lord, a whole new year!
My simple mind still questions, “What’s in store? Will events unfold that I can’t handle?” If I saw a glimpse of your plans would I still ask “How are we going to work through it Lord?” Yes, despite my December resolution to practice the art of contentment, my sinful, weak self digresses sigh…. I feebly reason that it was easier when there were two of us making the plans, sharing the load. At this point I can see God shaking His head and reaching out His hands saying, “Doneta remember Me? I’m in charge you know. You are not alone.” I love how my Lord draws me close in moments like that and I think back about two people we’ve talked about in Advent – Zechariah and Mary. Actually they have filled a great deal of my thoughts before, during and after Christmas.
They both questioned events when the angel Gabriel made his announcement. What I didn’t understand when I was younger was why Zechariah was given the nine month period of silence (can you imagine not being able to converse except by writing or hand gestures?); and Mary, well Mary was given the blessing, “You are highly favored.” But then I looked at the tone and the heart of each question.
Zechariah’s response to the news of impending fatherhood was doubt. Not just “Are you sure Gabriel?” but, “How can I be sure of this? I know you’re God’s right-hand man, but seriously…are you joking?” For Zechariah, a priest who had served all of his life, who had obviously loved and treasured His Lord he could only focus on himself and at this life-stage was a very old man. He did not look at his coming son as the forerunner to the Savior. No his focus was on himself.
Now young Mary, (maybe 14, 15 years old) was chosen and given unbelievable, incredible news about her pregnancy. Yes, we are told she responded, but look it was never “Gabriel, I’m a virgin. This is impossible.” No her question is “How?” She accepts the word first and simply responds with those beautiful and humbling words “I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled.” Luke 1:38.
Here I sit assessing the past year and contemplating the coming year. Those words need to be my words; not just something I read once a year from the gospel, or reference when my outlooks are gray and dim or even when I am blessed with joy beyond measure.
Young Mary was carrying Jesus and His very presence within her gave her strength. That fact is no different for me today approaching 2015. Colossians 1:27 reminds me, “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Christ is just not with me, leading me, guiding me; no He is within me continually reassuring me. I trust Him with all that is ahead and my attitude needs to reflect the servant heart. Because it’s all about Him; His provision, His control. Thank heavens! I best leave Him do what He does best, love me.
Immanuel, forgive my questions. Humble my heart and remind me of Your love. Blessings, Doneta