Luke 1: 26-38: Read this out loud together. For younger families, this story can be found in the Spark Storybook Bible on page 196 or in the Jesus Storybook Bible beginning on page 176-179. Younger children may want to act out the story or be one of the different voices as the story is read.
: for children: Did you ever do something really hard? What was it? Did someone ask you to do it (like a parent or a teacher) or did you want to do this thing yourself? Did you do it? Were you surprised that you could do it? Mary was asked to do this hard thing-having a baby is not easy! But she knew that God was with her and that with God, anything is possible. God can surprise us all the time! Look for God to surprise you with God’s love today!
For youth/adults: I am always surprised by Mary’s calm and sure response to Gabriel’s announcement about this impossible and scary thing about to happen to her. Mary was willing to give her whole life to what God was doing in the world-bringing salvation and eternal life. What do you think is impossible to do in the world? (Eradicate hunger, poverty, violence, etc.?) What do you think would change (or could change) about these huge issues if we all responded to God’s call to participation like Mary? What would a first step, that you could actually take, be towards something that the world needs and perhaps God calling you for participation in?
For Christmas this year, do an “alternative giving” option with friends and family. Give donations in honor of family members and give a simple handmade gift (such as an ornament, something you have knit, sewed, carved, created or a homemade card) with a note explaining the donation instead. One possibility is the ELCA Good Gifts Program. Follow the link here: http://www.elca.org/Resources/ELCA-Good-Gifts
One simple idea to say “Here I am!” to the things God is doing in the world!
God of all possibilities, open our eyes and our hearts to follow you into hard and what might seem like impossible places. We pray for all your love and grace to flow through us to your world. May we always remember that with you, nothing is impossible. We pray this in the name of your son, Jesus Christ, amen.