Today’s Advent Devotion comes from Jack Broomell. Check back each day for a new devotion.
Everyone is gearing up for Christmas and some might even have all their shopping done, while I have about 20% done. While I write this devotion I am coming off of my first Christmas party with my new youth group. While I reflected on all the logistical things, I also got a chance to reflect on where my life has gone, not just in the past year but my entire life. If you know me, then you know that I never expected to be a youth pastor, let alone involved in the church. This got me thinking about the story of Christmas and the story of God.
I feel as though we give “randomness” too much power in our lives. I can personally testify that as I look back I see how the paths I chose eventually led me to God and the direction He wanted me to go in. We often don’t realize the plan that God has for us and for the world. One of the greatest reminders? The birth of Jesus! In Luke 1:27-37 we see God jump into this world to reveal his plan to Mary. Before this Mary was just another face in the crowd. At this point it had been a few hundred years since God had stepped in. God made it clear that it wasn’t about her plans, but it was about His.
After that Mary didn’t hear from the angel again and she might have felt abandoned or that everything is random. She now is carrying a child to a town that is 80 miles away and she is unable to share her true story. Herod is trying to kill her child and then proceeds to kill other children trying to find Jesus. Then as Jesus grows up she sees her son beaten and crucified. In that moment she probably thought that it was all random, that by chance Jesus was unjustly punished. We have the vantage point of knowing exactly how that turned out.
This Christmas season try to remember that God has a plan in motion for all of us and for this world. Let us all respond like Mary did in Luke 1:38 “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said”. We as people always tend to look for a purpose in the world, sometimes we find it right away, other times we can take awhile. With Christmas here, we are reminded that life isn’t as random as it seems, God is making a story and wants to use every one of us. There is a divine story unfolding that we are called to be apart of. I for one am thankful that God brought me into his plans and chose me to be where I am today. This Christmas I am thankful for an active and loving God. He doesn’t interrupt His plans, only ours.
Jack Broomell has been on weekly volunteer staff, a speaker, and retreat dean at Delanco. He is currently the Director of Youth Ministries at St. John’s UMC in Turnersville, NJ.