I’m delighted to introduce to you my awesome AWSA sister Pat Layton and her new book A Woman’s Quest to an Unstuck Christmas. Here’s Pat…
The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Luke 1:28 (NIV)
Picture this, you are propped up on a narrow bed with pillows lifting your head and your feet snuggled firmly under your great-grandmother’s heavy, crocheted blanket. Spicy hot tea steams from a thin china cup beside you and visions of sugarplums dance in your head as you are drawing the words “my wedding day” in swirly letters across the top of a crispy page of parchment.
This is really happening. You have seen the ketubah (the marriage contract) signed by the required 2 witnesses. A flowing canopy of the finest silk snaps in the breeze around you, and visions of your beloved bring a slow smile to your face. You can almost hear the breaking glass and shouts of “Mazel tov” that will be the very first sounds confirming your soon coming transition from child to woman.
A mix of fear and excitement cause a shutter to travel from your toes to your head.
Suddenly, you are snatched from your sweet daydream by the deep melodic voice of a large man standing above you dressed in the garments of a warrior. Something inside prompts you to run, but something deeper urges you to stillness.
The strange giant slowly raises his arm in a gesture of peace and speaks “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
The parchment holding the childlike drawings of your dreams floats to the floor as you fall to your knees and the sound of breaking glass rings up from the teacup as it crashes to the floor and makes you a woman.
Let’s be honest friend, sometimes the holiday season, especially Christmas, gives way to a heart filled with everything BUT feelings of celebration, rejoicing and rest. Sometimes we feel like Mary surely felt during those first moments of what was supposed to be “favor.” Overwhelmed.
If I get really honest, there have been Christmases when I just wanted to get past the holiday as fast as I could. Sometimes we feel like the “expectations” that either we take on ourselves or others pile onto us simply kept us STUCK and unable to receive the gift of simply Jesus.Sometimes the “expectations” that we take on or others pile on kept us stuck. Click To Tweet
The shopping, entertaining, cooking, gift wrapping, decorating and all the other things that seem to be attached to Christmas, leave us feeling trapped and feeling anything but “favored.” We feel STUCK!
The good news is, like for Mary, it doesn’t have to be that way. We can decide right here and now that this year will be different. We can choose to look past first glance and see what God has in store for us as we join HIM in the story of Christmas!
I cannot personally imagine any words that could get a heart any more UNSTUCK than the words that Mary heard that fate-filled day.
To me, these words spoken by an Angel of the Lord, an Angel who stands in God’s very living and Holy presence, shatter all ‘expectations”.
“YOU are highly Favored.”
“The Lord is with you.”
Would it not be the highest imaginable honor?
So now let’s reflect on some VERY good, UNSTUCK, news?
This is God’s Holy Word. This Word is for YOU!
This Word is for ME!
We are highly favored!
God is with us!
YES! YES! YES!
Let’s write it on our hands, write it on our mirrors, email to a friend! Instagram it! Let’s DANCE to it. Cry to it. OWN IT!!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are mine and I am yours. You are my eternal Bridegroom and I am your beloved Bride. I am waiting for you and you are waiting for me. Unspoiled. Unbroken. Pure and forgiven. Help me to step out of STUCK expectations for this holiday season. Fill me with your sweet presence today and I will be forever changed. Forever Unstuck! Amen.
You can read more about Pat Layton’s Quest to a “less hustle, more holy” Christmas in her new holiday devotional book A Woman’s Quest to an Unstuck Christmas available in 3 versions at www.patlayton.net Pat is the author of 7 books including Life Unstuck: Finding Peace with Your Past, Purpose in Your Present and Passion for Your Future (Revell, 2015) Pat lives in sunny Florida where she enjoys the glitter of “White Christmas” from a ribbon of sand known as Longboat Key.
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Sandy Conklyn says
Pat Layton’s closing prayer knocked me for a loop. My Mother died almost 8 years ago at our wonderful local Hospice In-Patient facility She was almost 97 years old. After years of a marriage that was unhappy in many ways and living well for fifty years after her husband’s, my father’s death, she suddenly roused from almost a coma-like state and very excitedly began asking “Is he here yet?” She hadn’t spoken for several days and didn’t appear to know who I was, so this sudden energy was startling. I answered that I hadn’t seen anyone , and she asked me to look under the bed! No one there. I just told her that maybe he was running a little late and began wondering who she was looking for. Her excitement didn’t make me think it was the Lord or God or an angel; it was more like she was waiting for a prom date or a sweetheart who might propose that night. She had been angry with her husband for so many years that I couldn’t quite believe it could be him causing this sweet anticipation. She died the next day. Since then I have often wondered about “him” and who it was. When I read Pat’s prayer it was like the proverbial light bulb went on! She was waiting for her “eternal bridegroom!”
Thank you, Debbie and Pat, for this gift of heaven sent peace.
Sandy Conklyn says
Can’t figure out how to send this?
Debbie Wilson says
Oh Sandy, I have tears in my eyes! She knew the lover of her soul was waiting for her! Thank you for sharing that. You have made my day!!
Ann Musico says
Debbie you always share the coolest things! I love this. I did an ebook called Entrepreneurs for Eternity and there was a chapter that compared Mary’s experience as a mom to ours to show there are so many ways we can relate. I love when someone shows these passages in a way we can relate to it personally. Beautiful.
Debbie Wilson says
Ann, I love to see all the ways these biblical people are like us too. Thanks so much.
Thank you for this reminder. Many times, we don’t realise the full import of those words, “The Lord is with you.” But when we allow them to fully sink in, they drive away every feeling of despair. Cheers! (Visiting from Recharge Wednesday with Patricia Holbrook)
Debbie Wilson says
Edith, what could be better than to know our Lord is always with us. Thanks for contributing your thoughts!