Merry Christmas Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.10 Then …
Tag: a very diva christmas
A Mary Little Christmas
[Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Carla Gasser, past Diva Christmas series guest blogger, and the latest installment of the A Very Diva Christmas guest blogger series! All of these devotionals are inspired by the Christmas story — here’s Carla’s take on how to “Have Yourself a Mary Little Christmas…”]
A few years ago I wrote an Advent devotional entitled “Have Yourself a Mary Little Christmas.” I was convicted regarding my role in making Christmas “merry” for my family and wanted to go back to the first Christmas and see where maybe I was getting things wrong. ” I took a look at the very first Christmas and the wife and mother who was at the center of it…Mary. By her quiet and humble example, she taught me so much about how to prepare for the Christmas season.
Let me say a few things about Mary before we begin. She was a woman of faith, courage, humility, praise, and prayer. She was a wife, a mother, and a disciple of Christ.
She was just a young teenager in an unimportant town in the hills of Galilee. She came from a poor but honorable family. She was engaged but not yet married to a man named Joseph. She was in love but a virgin. She knew the Scriptures and believed in God. She was waiting for the promised Messiah just like all the Jewish people, but for 400 years God had been silent on the subject.
The Scriptures call her “highly favored” and “blessed”… and indeed she was!
However, it is important to note that she was favored not because of who she was or what she possessed but because God chose her. Mary was totally perplexed, stunned, and confused by the angel’s announcement. She did not ask or seek this role in God’s plans. God simply stepped into her life and brought her into His service…just like He can and does with all of us. Her asset was her faithfulness and willingness to do whatever God asked.
She was confused, afraid, alone, tired, overwhelmed, and need of a Savior
(I don’t know about you…but I can relate on many levels), but she also did 3 important things that were crucial to getting her heart, mind, and soul ready to embrace the greatest gift the world has ever known.
1) She PREPARED
In Luke 1: 38 Mary responds to the angel’s announcement:
“I am the Lord’s servant…May your word to me be fulfilled…”
Mary was willing to set aside her plans for God’s plans. God asked Mary to change her hopes, her plans and her dreams…and not without a cost to her.
Are we willing to the same? Can we set aside of hopes, dreams and expectations of what Christmas should be? Are we willing to allow God to break into our lives and do the impossible as he did for Mary?
2) She PRAISED
Continuing on in the story in Luke’s gospel, Mary greets her cousin, Elizabeth, and breaks into a song of praise and thanksgiving:
“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful or the humble estate of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me–holy is his name. ” Luke 1:46-49
Mary realized that Christmas was not about her but all about Him. She chose to take the focus off of herself and put it where it belonged…on the birth of Jesus. She accepted her role in God’s plan with humility and gratitude.
Are we willing to focus on what really matters this Christmas? Can we pare things down to the simple gift of Jesus and let go of the things that distract us (even if they are good things)?
3) She PONDERED
As Mary gives birth to Jesus in a lowly stable with only Joseph to help her, the shepherds arrive after seeing angles in the night sky. Mary is quiet and reflective.
Luke 2:19 reads: “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.“
Mary took the time to be quiet and still. Jesus came as the angel foretold and as God had promised. Mary got of the way, allowed God to use her, and made room for her Lord and Savior, Jesus. She was reflective and thoughtful as she pondered this amazing thing that God had done for her and all of mankind.
Are we willing to be still and ponder? Do we realize that the only gift we really need this Christmas is the gift of Jesus? Have we accepted that gift by inviting Christ into our ordinary, messy, everyday lives?
So let’s learn from Mary and prepare, praise and ponder as we try to “Have Ourselves as Mary Little Christmas” this year.
Please visit my website and subscribe to receive your FREE E-BOOK Advent Devotional, “Have Yourself A Mary Little Christmas” which includes weekly Bible reading, questions, activities, and a list of resources to help you prepare your heart, mind, and soul for Christmas.
Grace, peace and joy to each of you.
When not teaching, writing, or speaking, Carla is most herself as a wife and mom living in Hudson, Ohio with her four very active children (who take their job of keeping her humble and grounded very seriously!) and her husband of over 26 years. She believes in the power of story and writes and speaks about the messy, ordinary, and unexpected ways her life and her faith intersect. Her purpose is to help others seek God at the place of connection, serve their families and others on the path and connection, and support each as they strive to become people of connection. She is a work in progress, seeking fellow travelers on the journey. Everyone who subscribes to her blog via email will receive her free e-book on CONNECTION, so visit AT THE CROSSROADS: www.carlagasser.com to learn more about and connect with Carla Gasser today!
A Blessing in the Burdens [Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Winslow E. Dixon and the second post in A Very Diva Christmas. I tried to make all of the posts flow well in the series. Since Alisha Ritchie’s opening guest post dealt with Mary’s response to …
[Editor’s Note: A Very Diva Christmas is here! This is a guest post by Alisha Ritchie, who we are welcoming back to kick off the series! As you recall, (or not if you are new…welcome!) this is the 3rd annual Christmas series at Devotional Diva. All of the posts will be focused on the Christmas story, specifically Luke 1 or 2. This guest post devotional series will span three weeks, and I truly hope it can inspire you this Christmas season. I am so thrilled with all of the submissions and writers that helped me put this together. Thank you! Also, all of the photos that will be featured in this series were taken at local Italian Christmas lights displays! Merry Christmas, everyone. Enjoy.]
“And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.’”
Luke 1:46-47 ESV
I stood in the bathroom, perched over the sink countertop, intently staring at the little white applicator. My pulse quickened and my palms grew sweaty as I waited for the answer I’d been agonizing over for the past few days.
Could I possibly be pregnant? Was this really happening?
Did the nausea I’d been experiencing have meaning to it? Now, all my questions lingered in this moment, as my fate hung on the appearance of two little pink lines.
I stood there for three minutes, my mind buzzing with all the possibilities of what this pregnancy could mean, and they suddenly appeared on the applicator.
Two pink lines. Two pink lines that would change my world and heart forever.
I was pregnant! A baby! My husband and I were going to have a baby! We had officially started our little family and I was overcome by hormones and emotions.
Tears of joy streamed down my face as I gave thanks to God for the blessing I beheld inside me. Even now, fifteen years later, it’s hard to fully describe the happiness I felt that morning. All I knew is that good things were about to happen and I was glad that God was with me on the journey.
I soon began thinking of how to tell my husband and family members the good news of our upcoming bundle of joy. I really didn’t know if I could contain my excitement until after my pregnancy had been confirmed by the doctor. I had wonderful news and I just had to share it with those I loved most.
No doubt, so many years ago, a young girl named Mary had some of those same emotions I felt. The virgin had learned of her miraculous pregnancy through the incredible visit of an angel. I cannot begin to even fathom the wonder, awe, and pure joy that she felt upon receiving that news. And of course, she wanted to share it with her family.
She traveled to Judea to visit her cousin and was greeted with a warm response, as Elizabeth already knew she was carrying the child of the Lord. Mary didn’t respond to Elizabeth with panic or anxious questions of why was this happening to me? Or how can this even be possible? She responded in complete submission with joy and praise to God for what He was doing in her. Surely Mary’s delight caused her to speak those words to Elizabeth saying,
“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior (Luke 1:46-47 NIV).”
The mother-to-be rejoiced, exulting God for not only the child in her womb but also for what He meant to the world. He would be a Savior for all of mankind, One who would bring joy in the days to come and for all of eternity.
As we prepare our hearts for the Christmas season, let’s not forget the true joy that Jesus brings to each of us. Soon you will decorate trees and hang lights. You will shop till you drop and spend late nights wrapping gifts. You will attend holiday parties and eat lots of yummy goodies. But in all the splendor and busyness of Christmas, don’t let your joy, immense jubilation and delight, be dulled this year. Remember Mary’s response thousands of years ago. Praise God for the Joy God gave us so many Christmases ago, that still lives in our hearts today.
Is there someone in your life who needs to hear about the hope that Jesus Christ brings into your life? Be inspired to share the best gift you can give them this season, an opportunity for a personal relationship with God.
“Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Son and Mary’s willingness to be a part of Your plan. Help me remember to praise You, igniting joy within my soul this season, shining brightly so that others may be pointed to You. Guide me in honoring You in all I say and do, on Christmas and always. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”
Alisha Ritchie writes from North Carolina where she enjoys spending time with her husband, Brandon, of almost twenty years, and two busy but wonderful teenagers, Zack and Abby. She is a Physical Therapy Assistant by profession but in recent years has also become a multi-published author of devotions and inspirational stories to inspire others in their walk with God. Alisha’s stories and devotions have appeared in numerous publications, and you can follow her on her new blog www.seekhimdaily.wordpress.comfor details about the release of her upcoming devotional book in January 2017 or on her Snuggle Sessions with God Facebook page.