Favored by God – A Christmas Devotional
By Caron Cline
Luke 1:30-31 “And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus’”.
After nearly 400 years of silence, God sent his angel Gabriel to a priest named Zacharias. He and his wife Elizabeth were well past the age of child-bearing. However, this angel announced that not only would Elizabeth bear a son, but this child would be the forerunner to the long-awaited Messiah. Zacharias insulted Gabriel by questioning his prophetic word. This would result in 9 months of silence for this priest because he did not receive the word of the Lord by faith.
Six months later, Gabriel found himself in the small village of Nazareth with another profound word from the Lord. The recipient was not a priest, but a young virgin named Mary who was engaged to a carpenter by the name of Joseph. Both were descendants of King David. Gabriel appeared before Mary and spoke these words: “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you”. The word ‘favored’ is translated from the Greek word, ‘karin’ which could also be translated ‘grace’. For a young Jewish woman, these words were beyond comprehension. The Presence of God resided at the Temple in the Holy of Holies, between the two seraphim. How could He be with her? What had she done to receive God’s favor? Nothing could have prepared Mary for Gabriel’s announcement and her demeanor must have testified to her shock and fear. Quickly, the angel eased her mind with these comforting words, “Do not be afraid, Mary for you have found favor with God…” Just as quickly, her confusion and wonder would have returned as he continued… ”And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus”.
More details followed concerning the child she would bear. Despite this sudden interruption of news which made no sense in the natural, Mary asked only one simple question. “How can this be, since I am a virgin”? Unlike Zacharias, Mary seemed prepared to receive this seemingly impossible message, although she questioned the process. Zacharias had essentially doubted the word from the Lord by asking, ‘How can I be sure your words are true, Gabriel’? Often, the disappointment of unanswered prayers, the loss of opportunities, or the oppression of the enemy can result in a spirit of hopelessness. Although Zacharias was a righteous man of God, he had experienced too many years of priestly service without a fresh word from the Lord. He and Elizabeth had prayed too many years for a child without an answer.
Scholars agree that Mary was only 14-15 years of age, therefore, she lacked the many difficult life experiences which commonly weaken our faith. Her hope in the Lord was fresh and her heart pliable. Mary received the word of the Lord and opened her mouth in agreement: “Be it to me according to your word”. The favor of God is upon His children and we must guard our hearts and minds against believing otherwise. Our faith is in the grace of our God. When the word of the Lord comes with a holy assignment, recognize and receive it, for nothing shall be impossible with God.
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly”.
Caron is a follower of Jesus Christ and a member of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Morganton, NC. She loves to teach the word of God.
Her desire is to see every believer grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord.
You can read more Christian News from Caron HERE.