[Editor’s Note: This is a Christmas guest post by Brittney Robinson. Welcome to week two of Short and Sweet Christmas Devotionals! Here is Day 1. Day 2 and Day 3 if you’d like to get caught up, as well as more info about the series. All devotionals are under 400 words so you can whip right through them while still connecting with the Lord during this busy season!]
Blessed and Highly Favored?
Luke 1:28 “And having come in, the angel said to her, ‘Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
Naturally, we want the Christmas story to be a happy one. It’s our tendency to romanticize events even in the Bible, but sometimes the most significant stories are filled with pain, disappointments, tragedy and grief. Mary’s story within the Christmas story is one that has always fascinated me in that way. If I could talk to her, I’d love to hear her take. Not the commercialized, glamorized story we may tell. I mean the story that is less celebrated. The complex, complicated and contradictory experiences. I can only imagine what Mary would say. For now, here is my take,
I have often found conflict in myself as I looked at other people’s life (not a good idea) and looked at my own then wondered “Am I blessed? Does God favor me?” In observing other people, I thought they were blessed because of things like a career, a courtship, good health, happiness and simply things going just right. I thought to myself, this is what it means to be blessed and highly favored.
Mary’s story helps me to see that blessing isn’t always where the happiest person is or where there is no complication, and favor doesn’t necessarily make things easy. I have experienced those times too, but there is another side to the coin. There is a side where blessing and favor hurt. There are parts of the story where things are painful and seems unfair. In Mary’s life the initial declaration of being “blessed and highly favored” proved to be a test of her faith. How many times, I wonder, did she have to recall those words and choose to believe them when she didn’t feel them?
When there was no room in the inn.
When she and Joseph lost Jesus.
When the Romans tortured and crucified Jesus.
The purpose of God’s declaration of blessing and favor is not to look like it’s all going well. It is to be tested. Every word from God has the purpose of perfecting our faith. If you find yourself this Christmas in a place where blessing doesn’t feel like blessing and favor hasn’t exactly made things easy, remember Mary. I believe she would tell us the trial of our faith is worth it in the end.
Brittney is a self-acclaimed “multipotentialite”. Her endeavors range from being an ASL and Deaf Culture student and advocate to writing devotionals to binge watching British TV series with her mom. She values living life to her own rhythm and encourages others to find their rhythm as well.