Advent Devotion – December 7, 2010

Scripture – 1 Thessalonians 5:12–28

2010 Advent Devotions I gained a greater appreciation for Mary during two Advent seasons when I was either on maternity leave or pregnant. Sleep deprivation and morning sickness made it easy to empathize with Mary. Although to us this season signifies the birth of hope and love, I imagine for Mary there were mixed emotions of joy, fear, and uncertainty. As it was for Mary, our lives can be filled with moments where we are holding both joy and sorrow.

One Advent, I told my in-laws that I was pregnant again. In the same phone call, they told me that my father-in-law had prostate cancer, thus coupling my joy with fear. We prayed a lot that month. In 2 Thessalonians 1:16–18, Paul offers encouragement by saying, “Rejoice always, praying without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances.” At first glance, Paul seems to give a simplified response to some serious struggles of persecution that they were experiencing. However, Paul challenges us to move to a deeper relationship with God in which true hope makes it possible for us to give perpetual thanks in all we do.

On the night that Jesus was born, Mary experienced true joy in the most humble conditions. In that moment, we were given an incredible gift that gives us a reason to rejoice always.

God of joy and sorrow, we unceasingly give you thanks for the ultimate gift of love and hope—a gift that not only is the source of our joy, but also knows the depths of our sorrow. Amen.

The Rev. Theresa Cho, associate pastor,
St. John’s Presbyterian Church, San Francisco, California

Order Proclaiming the Good News of God's Peace.

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