December 1: BELIEVE

Every year, starting December 1st, my family and I read through short passages of Scripture that help us focus on the deepest meaning of the season. This year, I thought I’d open this up and share for anyone who would like to follow along. I’ll be posting (daily) the actual verses we read along with a short “devotional” of what that day’s passage spoke to us. Hope you’ll join us and follow along as you’re able! Here’s day one:

Luke 1:26-31 AMPC
Now in the sixth month [after that], the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth,
27 To a girl never having been married and a virgin engaged to be married to a man whose name was Joseph, a descendant of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
28 And he came to her and said, Hail, O favored one [endued with grace]! The Lord is with you! Blessed (favored of God) are you before all other women!
29 But when she saw him, she was greatly troubled and disturbed and confused at what he said and kept revolving in her mind what such a greeting might mean.
30 And the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found grace (free, spontaneous, absolute favor and loving-kindness) with God.
31 And listen! You will become pregnant and will give birth to a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus. 

IMG_6643Notice that when God sent the angel Gabriel to give Mary this prophetic message, He first spoke to the nature of who she was. How God saw her. I’ve noticed this is typical whenever He speaks a promise over us. He starts by speaking to who we are in His sight, and it’s usually not something we see in ourselves – yet. But when He does, it has a way of enlarging our capacity – stretching us on the inside – so that we can contain (and eventually give birth to) the magnitude of the promise.

At first, Mary was bewildered. troubled, confused, disturbed even. Have you ever had that happen to you? I certainly have. God whispers something to my heart about myself and He deposits the seed of a promise, yet sometimes I can’t even see it because I’m looking through the filter of my current circumstances, my weaknesses, or some of the things I see as limiters to that promise. But you know what scoots all of that out of the way so that I can joyfully contain it? I eventually just have to choose that I’m going to believe what He said. And that’s exactly what Mary did.

Sure, she had questions – lots of questions. But she didn’t let those questions (or doubts) drag the promise down to her level or her current circumstances. Instead, she let the promise and the truth of who God said she was pull her up.

During this time of year, we see this word everywhere, right? BELIEVE. And trust me, I’m all about believing in the “magic of the season” (just follow me on Instagram or Facebook to see how I geek out over that kind of stuff with my kids.) But as I sat here reading through this passage this morning, I’m drawn to focus on a much deeper meaning of belief. And here’s some of the question(s) I’m allowing myself to ponder today:

What has God spoken over you, Linda, that seems impossible or too large for you to contain?
What did He say to you about yourself when He gave you the seed of that promise?
Is there something you do not yet see in yourself (that God sees) that could be keeping you from moving towards it?

So as we begin this Christmas season, here’s the first prayer of my heart – for myself, for my family, and for you. That we may grow in our ability to B E L I E V E. May we go to a deeper level in our belief of who God is, may we grow in our belief of who He says we are, and may that belief enlarge our capacity to carry all He wants to do in us and through us.