Hi Church,

This week as part of my professional pastoral supervision, I was sent to a devotional message about Mary, and the pain that she went through once she said ‘yes’ to God.

And to be honest, I had probably never really thought about it all that much, but when we reflect, it is not something that would have been all rosey and peachey like we sing about in all of our favourite carols. 

From the moment Mary said ‘yes’, she was in pain. There would have been pain from some family members and relatives when she told them she was a virgin, and yet was also pregnant (not likely they would be thinking), and pain through the actual process of Mary giving birth to Jesus.

But it didn’t stop there. Mary would have to spend time nurturing that infant that while Jesus was without sin, and perfect, I’m sure there would have still been ‘moments’ (like when she lost him in the crowd).

There would have been further pain when she saw Jesus, the Son of God (also her son) go to the cross and die for the forgiveness of our sins on the cross. I can’t imagine that would have been easy at all. Even knowing the benefits – it’s hard to think about Mary’s pain in this time.

And this all started because she said ‘yes’ to God!

When we too say ‘yes’ to follow God’s leading to do what it is that he is calling us to do, I’m not going to promise that it’s going to be easy and light and all unicorns and rainbows.

Jesus says if we want to follow Him, we need to deny ourselves, pick up the cross and follow Him. It sounds like there might be some pain involved. Pain as we face our sin, pain as we go against the grain of so many in our society, pain as we follow His leading into the most unexpected of places.

But the benefits are so much greater. Would Mary look back and have a different response if she knew what was going to happen? I honestly don’t know. But what will our response be?

Are we just going into this Christmas season on ‘auto-pilot’? Singing the same old songs, going to the same old services, hearing the same old message, doing the same old things? 

How could you allow this life-changing message to change you, and also change the people around you? Will you say ‘yes’ to God and allow Him to use you? 

My prayer, is that even if that road is not easy, that your ‘yes’ will lead you into a deeper relationship with Christ, knowing that He will use you to do great things, while promising even greater things in return: life, forgiveness and salvation!

Thanks be to God,

In His service,
Pastor Ben

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