MONDAY 03 DECEMBER // Peace in the Advent story
Jesus’s birth was announced as the arrival of peace, but if we back up a little to the beginning of the Advent story what was Mary and Joseph’s experience of peace? Let’s look at the passages where it all began for them:
Luke 1:26-38 (MARY)
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants for ever; his kingdom will never end.’
‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’
The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So, the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.’
‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled.’ Then the angel left her.
Matthew 1:18-24 (JOSEPH)
This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.
What do you see in both of these passages? How do you think Mary and Joseph felt on on being given these instructions? The angel comes bearing good news – the fulfilment of the promise of a Messiah – but the implications and consequences of obeying are heavy.
Joseph is to proceed with the marriage. Mary is the one the prophet testified. Jesus will save people from their sins. Those are gigantic destinies… and they can only come to be when those called trust and obey, through discomfort, trial, anxiety, challenge and shame – they will be the ones to raise the Prince of Peace.
Trust and obedience are how we let God make good on his promises. In doing so, as Mary and Joseph did, we find peace.
Read: Isaiah 26:3
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
Pray: Ask God for his perfect peace, ask what areas you are being called to trust and obey, and what your response to this might look like
Respond: On your Advent calendar colour in today’s bauble, you might also like to include a scripture reference or note what God is speaking to you about through this story