I walk on the carved trail lined with evergreen trees, shadows painting images that darken spots on the path and I play a game. Like a child avoiding the cracks on a sidewalk, I skip into the light, skirting the shadows.
A time comes though, when darkened areas only remain, the path overshadowed from an easterly sun dipping low in the sky. It’s not in my control, the rising and setting sun, the beginning of day and the falling light into night.
Enveloped in the shadows, my footfalls fall now evenly on the trail.
And I think of Mary, the mother chosen by God to birth His Son. When she, this young virgin, questioned the angel Gabriel on how she could conceive a son, he assured her with these words:
“The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:35
And Mary responded by allowing herself to be fully overshadowed, stepping into obedience through her devotion to the Lord to the disregard of her own interests.
“And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. Luke1:38
Oh, what trust Mary had to allow God to overshadow her completely! Her future of marrying Joseph, setting up house, having a family in her community were turned over to the Lord. She risked being shunned by her community, being rejected by Joseph, and possibly living in poverty. Yet, as a bondslave to the Lord, she gave herself completely over to be used to advance His kingdom among men.
Have I ever trusted like Mary, letting God overshadow me, outweigh my own interests and plans? Or is my heart contrite, leaning into my own self-sufficiency and pride so I think I have control of my future?
Mary leaned into the will of God. And God took care of her. Her future did include marrying Joseph, having a family, continuing close ties with her community. Yes, there was also sorrow and pondering in her heart—life challenges. For none of us, since the fall of Adam and Eve, are without our human experience trials.
I see the end of the trail in the near distance, a few dozen steps away. The path opens wide where I know a bridge crossing transfers me over a mountain river onto a wooden boardwalk that ends where I began.
I trust these mountain trails carved between and enveloped with evergreen trees. Do I trust the Lord as Mary did? How am I a bondslave to the One who made us, loves us, is endlessly merciful, and promises to sustain us?
Do I allow God to envelope me in His shadow?
As Christmas approaches, may we challenge ourselves to trust and be faithful to the Lord as Mary did when the angel appeared. Like Mary, let’s answer “yes” as His bondslaves, honouring the One who made us by being obedient to His calling of advancing His kingdom as Jesus taught us.
Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Matthew 6:9-13
Have a Christ-filled Christmas season!
You can read more of Lynn's musings on faith and life at Lynn J Simpson