Every year, we re-read the Christmas story…shepherds, wise men, angels, Jesus, Joseph, and Mary. It’s beautiful but it’s more than historical, especially when it comes to Mary, the Mother of Jesus. She is unique in that, while a virgin, conceived and gave birth to the Christ child. It’s also tempting to think of Mary as unique simply because God chose her and not me. Yet, if we allow the Mary's story to end there, we miss the greater significance. Maybe a better way to view Mary is a prototype of God’s plan for every person in the world!  More than “just” the virgin birth, she represents the hope of Gospel: Christ In Us!    

Paul writes to the Galatians the point of the Christian life, “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.”  Paul’s singular desire is that we become people who bear and express the life of Christ. Like a mother with labor pains, I don’t want you to just look/sound/act like Jesus but to be the actual presence of the resurrected Christ. 

That’s the Gospel! Christ formed in you. Jesus paints a picture of vine and branches and invites us to “abide in me” (John 15).  He’s saying, allow your life to be filled with mine. This is the goal of Christian life! We do that that and we bear much fruit!

WHAT IF…this were your starting point? Everyday you know that Christ lives in you. What if…you went into each day with the hope, power and confidence of the resurrected Christ? Mary made Jesus’ arrival possible some 2000 years ago. But, we can hasten Christ’s return as we live into the God’s invitation of Christ in us.  Welcome to Advent!