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Vital signs - Thursday, December 22nd, 2022

We already know the end of the story—the climactic moment of Advent is the overwhelming beauty of the Incarnation. Jesus, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, entered as a babe—and we encounter God putting on flesh to dwell with humanity.

Mary did not have the advantage of “the rest of the story,” yet she waited for the fulfillment of the promise made by the angel Gabriel (Luke 1:26-38) and the revelation of the child. During her final days of pregnancy, we can imagine her unsettledness as she began to mentally and physically anticipate childbirth. Young and away from her home and family in Nazareth, Mary would have longed as any pregnant woman in her ninth month to end the wait and move through the labor in anticipation of the promised child, the Son of the Most High.

So too, we live in days of anticipation. We look forward to the return of Jesus and, like Mary, feeling the tension, pray to be relieved of the burden and realize the glory and wonder of Christ. We work towards His return, much as an expectant woman goes about her tasks, not knowing a definitive day for the arrival but pregnant with anticipation.

The apostle Paul urged believers in Philippians 4:6-7 to submit all to prayer without anxiety. But pause with me to look at the preceding verse: “The Lord is at hand” (Philippians 4:5). Ah, the glory! Just as Mary knew the promised Christ child was at hand, we too know that the Lord is at hand. As we live within this dissonance of the now and not yet, we are told to submit, and Gods peace will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7). Mary had been afraid when the angel appeared, yet she responded, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). I would dare say that both in the moment of questioning the angel and as she submitted to the will of God, that the peace of God guarded her heart and mind.

“Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4‬:‭5‬-‭7‬ ‭NASB1995‬‬

Pray with me-

“Lord, thank You for the glorious encounter You made with us in that pivotal moment when You put on flesh and came and lived on earth. What a marvel and wonder! As we journey today, we ask for a fresh vision of the glory of Your return and the peace to live and labor in anticipation yet without anxiety, knowing that You are at hand. We look forward to Your arrival! Amen.

Read Luke 22 Today

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