I’m so happy to welcome a friend to this space! Gals, meet Jenny Howell. She and I connected on Instagram months ago and I’ve been so inspired by her mothering, her willingness to say ‘yes’ to God, and her real-life, roll-with-it, trust Him boundlessly faith. It’s beautiful, and today she brings us an offering of words for this Christmas week. Enjoy!

It had to be a crazy exchange of conversation. Mary in awe stricken wonder mixed with fear by an unannounced visitor. And heaven help us gals who are lovers of company, but always receive it at not the perfect moments.

The angel delivered a message that fell upon the heart and ears of the mother to be.

“Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”

I love that the angel came right out of the gate saying, “The Lord is with you.” Doesn’t that speak to Mary and her relationship with her God already – that He deeply knew her heart? Gabriel explains, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.” What an honor and a fright at the same time!

He continues to lay out the epic news that would bring hope to the entire world.

“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.” Conceive a son? The story unfolds, to her surprise. “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”

Mary just needs some clarity. “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” To which Gabe answers…” The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you…”

What a powerful truth that we overlook. We all know that the Holy Spirit spoke the baby into conception…but so often we don’t have the hope that He will see us through December. I love that Mary was spoken to in this way. God knew she might be afraid and the words would bring her some comfort so she could entertain the idea of becoming the Momma to the Savior of the World.

We fear, don’t we?

The health of a pregnancy.

The unknowns of our futures.

The paths our children might choose.

The ever-loving possibility of change.

The influence of our ministries.

The ups and downs of our marriages.

Let Mary be hopeful and let us spread out the hope offered in the “Do not be afraid!”. We know Jesus is trustworthy – but we are weakened by fear. We trust that He is AHEAD of us, but lose sight that He is also BEFORE us. He was before Mary that day and He is before you and I this season of celebration.

The hustle, the lists, and all of the planning to make things sweet. He is both before our plans and He is up ahead after the lights grow dim. God in His infinite love and wisdom gave Mary a ‘heads up’, didn’t He? The greatest gift she could have received was the unannounced visitor bringing her life -changing words. I love that Mary had time to receive the news, worship and wait for His perfect package.

He does this for us friends. He visits us and offers hope in every season.

Let’s be ones who hope even when the temptation to be afraid rises.

Let’s be ones who see a guest as a gift and not an inconvenience.

Even when unexpected news comes at us, and especially while we await the birth of the King!

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