MONDAY, DECEMBER 4
“And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.’”
Luke 1:30 ESV
THE MIRACLE OF FAVOR
A Baltimore congregation found the answer to its financial troubles on a church wall. And it had been “hiding” there for more than 25 years! Someone finally recognized a piece of art hanging in the chapel as a valuable woodblock print by Albrecht Dürer, dated 1493. The work shows the angel telling Mary she would give birth to God’s Son. Some members just couldn’t believe they had underestimated the value of the old masterpiece, saying in effect, “If it were real, why would it be here?” What about us? Are we underestimating the value of the event depicted on that woodblock print?
The Greek word for “favor” in Luke 1:30 is the word normally translated as “grace,” and this is actually the first mention of grace in the New Testament. The first mention of grace in the Old Testament is Genesis 6:8: “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” In both cases, a human believer was selected by God’s grace to bring a new beginning into the world. Grace is not a reward that is earned from God, but a gift from God that is found. And it is found, not by working or searching but “through faith” (Ephesians 2:8).
Mary wasn’t the only one who found favor when Jesus was born. We all found favor with God.
“Favor with God” is more literally translated “favor beside God,” which is even better. The miracle of Christmas is a personal relationship with God. We have the invaluable treasure of walking with God this Christmas season. Thank God for the gift of His grace and His presence in your life.