12.21 Advent Devotional

Posted by meclary on December 21, 2014

Advent Four

Today's devotional, on Luke 1:30-31, is written by Mimi Smith.

Together with husband, Mark, Mimi is a longtime member of NorthPark Presbyterian. She will begin a new three-year term as Elder in January 2015. Mimi is also a member of the Genesis II Sunday School Class and volunteers with a number of church programs.

Luke 1:30-31

The angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.



For centuries, this pivotal moment, when the angel visits Mary, has been a favorite with artists. The artist gets to decide the setting, what the angel should look like and add many descriptive details.

Mary is often pictured with an expression of pious acceptance. The depictions of the annunciation that most appeal to me, however, are the ones where Mary looks surprised (or maybe even a little frightened.) This makes her seem much more human and relatable. This is quite a bit for a young woman to take in! Is this announcement the original, kinder and gentler, “shock and awe?”

The Gospel of Luke is the only one that gives much information on this surprising event, naming the angel (Gabriel) and going on to say that Mary’s cousin Elisabeth will also conceive a son in her old age. Surprises all around!

In these final days of the Advent season, let’s be aware of the surprises of delight that can be found all around us.

Enjoy the wonderful, warming traditions, but be ready for those startling moments that shake us a little and help us to remember that this time of waiting is worth it. Embrace the surprises of the season.

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