Luke 1: 26-38
‘Let it be to me according to Your word’ Graham Kendrick put verse 38 into a great song back in the 1980’s. I remember hiring Sutton Theatre when we were in London to put on a Christmas production. Plenty of people came along and this song spoke powerfully to many people who would not, at the time have been Christians. Every year I sing it to myself when I read this passage and every year it brings a fresh challenge and acts as a magnet back to that place of being content.
I have to be honest. I don’t find it difficult to be content. I’ve been reflecting on Psalm 16:6 and frequently say, along with the Psalmist, ‘the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places’. Maybe Mary had been thinking that, but what really challenges me is when she says it … immediately after being dropped the bombshell, which will mean turbulence will become an almost guaranteed feature of the rest of her life. Outside turbulence that is, all around her. On the inside Mary sets the direction of her heart on being content, whatever the circumstances swirling around her. But that’s’ not the end of the story … we’ve all done that, by which I mean say what we intend. Mary, however, follows it through with the rest of her life. So how do we practice contentment? We do what Mary did.
Don’t disbelieve in the darkness what you’ve seen in the light. If contentment is an issue of the heart, don’t let go when your circumstances change. Keep reminding yourself: God our Father ‘has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ’. Meditate on this verse daily between now and Christmas day.
Character is seen in what it does. Contentment is also an issue of the will. Advent coincides with the biggest wave of materialism of the year, so it’s the ideal opportunity to practice setting our face into the wind. Ask yourself how this might impact how much you spend this Christmas
Contentment is also an issue of outward practice. ‘I am the Lord’s servant’ says Mary. It may be an issue of the heart, but our inner ‘yes’ to God needs to be reflected in a consistent life. Yes to God is not revealed in actions, which shout ‘no’. If Advent is about preparing our hearts for the coming of Christ, which it is, then we must be content with whatever gifts we receive. Dare to examine your heart – what is your attitude going to be towards what you receive, or don’t!
Prayer: Dear Lord, I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled. Help me, Lord, to live today in the light of your word. Help me to welcome every opportunity to serve you this day, to look for your image in every person I meet and to be content with whatever response to you I receive. Amen