Acting on Christ’s Love Promise

In this Advent season, be reminded that we are to act out of love as Jesus did when he promised to return for those who love him. How are we preparing to live as loving children of the One who loves all people equally and act out Jesus' love promise? What happens when we act out of Christ's promise of love for us?

Jesus, as God present with us, wants us to believe his loving promises like this one, "And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:20 NRSV. Yet, there were many other promises that were made by God to God's people even before Jesus came to be with us. And one of the most important promises made in love by God was about the first coming of Jesus, it was told to Mary, and written about in Luke 1:26-38. These verses were prior to those in our Bible reading for this Sunday.

The Angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her of a loving promise from God that she was going to give birth to a boy that she was to call Jesus, who was to be the Son of the Most High. Mary could not understand how that could be since she was not married, and she was a virgin. But Gabriel made a promise to Mary saying, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you." Luke 1:35. Then in Luke 1:37 the Angel Gabriel said, "Nothing is impossible for God."

What Mary said next is shocking but wonderful. The sincerity of Mary's response to God's loving promise is humbling. After everything that was told to her, Mary replied to the angel Gabriel, "I am the Lord's servant. Let it be with me just as you have said. Then the angel left her." Luke 1:38 CEB. That was it! There was nothing written in those Bible verses from Luke saying that Mary refused to believe the love promise from God, because she dismissed it all as a dream or stating that although Mary did believe the promise from God, that she refused to go through with it because it was too mysterious and there was nothing in it for her. Mary released all her doubts and let go of her fear and simply said, "Let it be with me just as you have said."

What happened when Mary believed in the love promise from God that she would become the mother of the Son of God and acted upon it? The result of Mary's response is the blueprint of what will happen to us when we believe in Jesus' promise to return to earth out of love for us and act on it.

Mary was given a love promise made by God that was so fantastic and life altering, to be part of an immaculate conception and a virginal pregnancy, and coming from an extremely oppressive society toward women and girls, then to say in response, "Let it be with me just as you have said," is to give up her right to live her life as she wanted to live it, and give over her desires in favor of God's love promise to her is unusual in human history.

When have we ever been that humble and obedient to act on a love promise from God like Mary did after hearing Gabriel's words of prophecy and saying, "Let it be with me just as you have said."

If you take the Bible reading for Sunday from Luke 1:39-45 into your heart, you will find out what Mary did after hearing the good news about her being the mother of Jesus. As people of God, love is always the major part of any thought, word, or act of obedience. Luke wrote about an encounter that Mary, pregnant with Jesus, had while visiting with her cousin Elizabeth, who was also pregnant with John the Baptizer. That encounter between Mary and Elizabeth has some parallels in our lives too.

After reading the Bible passage for Sunday, search for the result of Mary's faithful actions based on God's love promise when she and Elizabeth met. It is that byproduct of our faith in God's promise that we celebrate every Advent Season. And it is what drives us to be loving people throughout our lifetime as we await Christ's return in the second Advent! Amen!

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