A couple of weeks ago at the latest Deacons meeting, Janet McSwain brought the devotional encouragement to the gathering. Her meditation included the idea that while we get a lot done by working down our “to do” lists we should also be intentional to keep a “to be” list close by. Her reflections were very encouraging. God calls us “to be” his children and “to be” followers of Jesus as we go about our daily tasks and check off the things that need to be done! This is a helpful challenge during the Advent season because it helps us to focus on the meaning of Jesus’ “coming” (advent means “arrival”) into our lives. He was born to bring us face to face with the Kingdom of God and to the realization that we are “to be” conformed to his image as our reason for being human (Romans 8:29). As we, along with our jolly ole friend, are making our lists and checking them twice, we do well to make sure that the lead list we make is our “to be” list.
Mary’s story highlights this call as she begins to anticipate the birth of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel. Once the Angel appears to her and breaks the news that she is going to have a baby who “will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High,” Mary does something that challenges our hearts. Her response to all the surprise which accompanied the angel’s announcement is this: “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Mary could easily have started making her “to do” lists in preparation for the baby – between this angel’s visit and the angel’s visit to Joseph, there were plenty of details set forth that would need to be “done.” However, her first response, the one that would lead all other responses, was to begin making her “Let It Be” list! She was willing to say to the Lord, “let it be to me according to your word”… “let it be to me as you desire for me.” This response of submission to the Lord’s desire for her life positioned her to be ready for the night of Jesus’ birth and all that would come next as she, and Joseph, followed the Lord’s direction for bearing, and preparing, the Son of the Most High.
That being so, with all the “to do” lists of the season, let’s be sure to slow ourselves a bit every day to focus on our “to be” list and there to include our prayers of submission through which we embrace all that the Lord would have us to contribute to his kingdom work as we, with Mary, shape up our “let it be” list while the Advent season leads us into a new year!
In the Love of Jesus,