Advent Week 3: Fully Alive Through Steadfastness

December 11, 2017

Week 3 Devotional
December 17, 2017

Read verses: Colossians 2:6-7; Luke 1:46-49
Key verses: Colossians 2:6-7

I was a young mom, working full-time at Sioux Falls Seminary and trying to be the best mom, wife, employee, daughter, daughter-in-law, sister, friend, and Christian possible.  The responsibility I felt to “do it right” was overwhelming me.  I felt like I was going crazy.  When I shared my feelings with a former professor, he suggested that I make an appointment to see Sister Del Rey.

Sister Del Rey greeted me with a hug, she held my hands with her crooked arthritic fingers and looked at me with gentleness.  She asked, “How can I help you?”  After sitting silent for a few moments, words spilled from my lips.  I shared with her my longings to be faithful in all the relationships and responsibilities God had given me.  I rattled off a list of all the things I was doing; all the ways I was trying to love God and others, but never feeling like what I was doing was enough.

Sister Del Rey’s response was simple: “Oh Melissa, you are very good at doing, but do you know how to BE?”  I knew how to strive.  I knew how to compare.  I knew how to harshly judge myself as not being enough, but I did not know how to be?  What did that mean?

I like how Eugene Peterson translates Colossians 2:6-7 in The Message:

“My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him.  You’re deeply rooted in him.  You’re well-constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith.  Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it!  And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.”

As I ponder the Christmas story, I am drawn to Mary.  Another young mother, who must have had feelings of doubt and inadequacy; overwhelmed by her circumstances and wanting to do things well.  In her response in Luke 1, I hear something deeper than doubt and fear.
“My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.”

Mary was steadfast, not in her ability but in the knowledge that God loved her and wanted good things for her and in an assurance that, through her, God would bless all generations.

So this advent season, it’s not about how hard you are working for God, it’s about BElieving that the God of the universe loves you and wants good things for you.  Through your steadfast knowledge of God’s love, you are deeply rooted, ready to live, fully empowered and equipped to BE you, God’s Beloved, and you too will impact future generations by simply being you.

Dear Heavenly Father, as we prepare for the coming of Christ, let us be deeply rooted in the knowledge that Christ’s coming is a gift to the world, because you love us deeply.  May the steadfast knowledge of your love make us overflow with thanksgiving, a thanksgiving that will impact generations to come.  Amen.

Melissa Hiatt holds a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from Sioux Falls Seminary (1995) and is a licensed pastor with the North American Baptist Conference.  She is currently a Pediatric Chaplain at Sanford Children’s Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD, and is certified as a Daring Way™ Facilitator and a Strengths Communicator.

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