As we begin the Advent Season once again I am reminded of God’s great favor toward mankind. When the church fathers designated the four Sundays before Christmas as the beginning of the church year and a season of penitence and self-examination, it didn’t take long for the season of Advent to become a season of joy, anticipation and celebration.
I can easily understand why. It is hard to meditate on the Christmas story withoutbecoming simply overwhelmed by God’s favor. His favor towards us and greatlove for us overwhelms the reality of our sin.
Isn’t that why God sent Jesus? I know there are many feelings that comewith the season of Advent. The absence of a loved one, the busyness, the pressure,and debt are a few examples of some of the realities that produce negative feelingsat Christmas. Everyone can feel favored if they will let their hearts open tothe messages of Advent.
Mary, the peasant girl chosen one to be the mother of our Savior, was favored.The angel Gabriel told her, Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lordis with you. (Luke 1:28). She wasn’t the only one. When the angelscame to the shepherds the night of Jesus birth, they announced, Glory toGod in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests (Luke2:14).
Have you opened your heart to God’s favor to you this Advent? Do you fullytake in what it means that God sent His only Son as a baby?
I love the truth that we are all favored by God. In our human relationships weare always seeking to be the favorite. We want to be the favorite child, thefavorite boss, the favorite employee. We think that others have to be out offavor in order for us to be the favorite. The reality with God’s favoris that I can experience myself as deeply favored by God and not take away fromany of the favor He has for you. He has enough favor to go around to all of us.
Perhaps the greatest way that God showed His utter favor for mankind in all ofhuman history was by sending us Jesus. Though His heart ached from the absenceand the torture of His coming death for the sins of all, His favor for mankindoutweighed His personal loss and suffering.
Advent is a season of anticipation and patience—looking for Jesus’ secondcoming. It is also a season to celebrate the sense of being highly favored bythe God of the Universe.
It almost wants to make me break out in song and rejoicing. Though I am a sinner,God has bestowed great favor on me. I want to sing like Mary, My soul glorifiesthe Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful ofthe humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed… (Luke1:46-47).
Are you mindful of your favored state? Do you called yourself blessed?