Advent Week 1: Accepting the Task Before Us & Breath Prayer Exercise

Read Luke 1:26-56

“Nothing is impossible for God. Then Mary said, ‘I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be with me just as you have said.’ Then the angel left her.” Luke 1:37-38

While most of us haven’t had an angel show up physically to announce what grand plan God has for our life, we, like Mary, can choose our responses to what comes. One could speculate a lot on how she must have felt about this announcement that changed the course of her entire life. There’s a lot left undocumented, but here’s what we do know from the text:

  1. Mary’s fear and confusion was met with compassionate understanding. (Luke 1:29-30)
  2. She was allowed to ask questions without judgment. (Luke 1:34)
  3. Mary responded with quiet acceptance. “I’m here, Lord.” (Luke 1:38)
  4. She didn’t have to walk through this experience completely alone and Elizabeth’s own miraculous story was a reminder of God’s presence to them both. (Luke 1:39-45)
  5. After this, Mary found great joy in this new part of her story. (Luke 1:46-55)

It’s comforting to know that the mother of God, when initially introduced to the idea of immaculate conception and raising the Son of God, needed some time to adjust. She needed, and was given space to have very human responses and even comfort from a friend as she navigated the challenges with this new calling. 


Too often as cross-cultural workers, it seems that we unintentionally breed this unspoken fear that we must respond to challenges, changes, and setbacks with a stiff upper lip. God is in control. It’s fine. Right? What if, for a moment, we set down the perfect picture of holiness or “put-togethered-ness” that we may have taken up, and gave ourselves the space to be human, just like Mary? What fear, confusion, and questions do you need to embrace and bring to God as part of your own journey? What walls might fall down to actually make you more open and humbly willing to God’s work in your life if you were more honest with yourself?


As you create space for the Divine’s presence with you now, we’d like to offer an exercise using Mary’s own prayer of eventual acceptance and awe. Through this exercise, we’ll repeat a phrase silently or aloud, focusing all the while on our breathing. Use this to focus your mind and cultivate a sense of calm acceptance in your own spirit. 

May you feel the Spirit’s presence this week as you consider your own story in light of Mary’s forever changed one. 

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