2020 Advent Devotional – Day 14


Luke 1: 26–35; 38

I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered.
“May your word to me be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:38)

Video: Luke 1: 26–35; 38


This reading from Luke’s Gospel incorporates a wide range of emotions for Mary. Starting with uncertainty and anxiety and rapidly shifting to outright fear, Mary is overwhelmed by the magnitude of all the angel has to say to her.

The angel’s words form a stark contrast with Mary’s initial reaction. The angel’s blessings are met with Mary’s sense of unworthiness; where the angel is certain, Mary is unsure and questioning. Even as the angel speaks of eternal greatness, Mary is constrained by her sense of insignificance.

The conversation emphasizes the difference between human frailty and the divine. Yet as the divine overflows Mary, God’s divine Spirit brings her to certainty. Mary affirms her willingness to serve, to accept God’s purpose for her life. And she appeals to God that all that has been spoken will be fulfilled.

In English (albeit not in Luke’s original Greek) the word fulfilled has two similar-but-different interpretations, which can bring an added dimension to how we think about this reading. Our immediate thought is to read Mary’s response as a statement of acceptance –Mary offering herself in tribute to God’s love and to accept God’s promise.

But we can also layer on to Mary’s affirmation an additional meaning, by thinking about the way in which fulfilled can also mean satisfied and content. Too often, the act of serving God and following God’s will is described as sacrificial and needing effort and tenacity.

But what if instead we think of this as nourishing and fulfilling. Serving God, then, is not a duty or an obligation but a gift. The opportunity to connect with the essence of who we are and how we came to be; to renew ourselves with joy and contentment. Through God’s love, we are fulfilled.

Renewing God,
Encourage me with your comfort and strength to follow your way and to recognize your calling to me. Inspire me to serve you with the core of my being, finding delight and joy in the offering I can make. Accept me where I am and use me for your healing and care in the world today. Empower me to live with courage and reflect your love. Amen.


Luke 1: 26–35; 38

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.  But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God.  You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,  and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

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[a] the Son of God.

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

If you’re enjoying the carols each day, there’s now a YouTube playlist you can listen to that contains all the carols shared so far. The playlist will grow as the devotional series progresses, with each day’s carol being added. By Christmas Day, you’ll have the perfect soundtrack of worship and praise.  Click here to listen.

Thank you for joining us on this prayerful path through Advent.
Blessings and best wishes for 2021.


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