Advent Devotional- December 23

December 23                           Wednesday                                         Labor

Labor – 1. (v.) to work; 2. (n.) a task; 3. (n.) the time just before giving birth.

 

Labor. Seems a fitting word for Christmas Eve, which I’m guessing was probably a pretty painful evening for Mary. When I think of the word labor in the context of advent and the life of faith, I think not so much of the literal process of giving birth, but the spiritual, emotional, and sometimes physical work of expectation and longing, anticipation and hope that characterizes this season. This also can be a pretty painful process.

 

As I reflect on the past year, I wonder what God is trying to birth in me, through the circumstances I’ve faced and the people I’ve encountered. This has been an especially difficult year for me, as it has been for many, so I’ve been thinking about how this particular Advent season will be different. The word labor also brings to mind the act of preparing for the future; how will my preparation for Christ’s coming be reflective of the preparation He has already begun in me?

 

I’m still contemplating that answer, but I believe it includes the task of making myself more open to God’s redemptive work in my life. For me, this means embracing my weaknesses and vulnerabilities to see new possibilities for finding my ultimate hope, peace, joy, and love in Him. This feels like a monumental task that requires constant effort. The irony is that my own labor, by itself, cannot save me. Only God, who works to restore all things to Himself through his Son, can bring the newness and possibility I long for in my life.

 

What is God laboring to birth in you this season?

Eva Powell

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