Our congregation, pastors, and staff write devotionals to help us experience the seasons of Lent (before Easter) and Advent (before Christmas) more fully. They are posted below with the most recent on top and do not post until the season begins.

December 11 | Morning

Luke 1:38
“Then Mary said, “‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’” Then the angel departed from her.” NRSV

"And Mary said,
"'Yes, I see it all now:
I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me
 just as you say.'"
Then the angel left her."
The Message

"'I belong to the Lord, body and soul,'” replied Mary, “'let it happen as you say.'” And at this the angel left her. J.B. Phillips Translation
And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her."
King James

DEVOTIONAL BY Care Crawford:
A few different translations for the same humble and simple response Mary makes. Luke is very interested in the ways that disadvantaged people of his day respond to God. Already there is a fascinating interplay between Zechariah’s response to God and Mary’s.

How do you respond when God asks something of you? How do you hear God’s voice? Mary was a humble servant. Are we?
Mary was ready to serve? Are we? Mary yielded, surrendered to God’s greater plan. Do we?

What would it be for you to pray the response that Mary did today in whatever God may be asking of you? Can you pray, “Let it be to me according to YOUR Word? Ah yes, one other thing- don’t forget God’s messengers are all around? Angel’s wings may be brushing near you even now!

At our home preparing for Christmas takes time. We nearly have to pack up our house to put out all the nativities we have. Every shelf, every table, every nook is cleared for the figures from the nativities from all over the world to be displayed. Preparation is hard work sometimes. I have learned to pray and wonder as I unwrap each piece. It makes the work of decorating accompanied by wonder. How are you preparing your heart and homes for Christmas this year?

December 11 | Evening

Isaiah 40:1-2
“"Comfort, oh comfort my people,"”
says your God.
“"Speak softly and tenderly to Jerusalem,
but also make it very clear
that she has served her sentence,
that her sin is taken care of—forgiven!
She’s been punished enough and more than enough,
and now it’s over and done with."”
(The Message)

I was a pretty obedient child. But every once in a while I’d blow it. I’d do something – bad – and get the “Go to your room!” command from my mom. Oh, I hated these times. I remember feeling so awful. So sad and upset. There was distance in the most significant relationship I had – with my mom - and it just punished me. Something vital had been injured and broken – even if only for a few minutes. That was just it… I never knew how long my “time-outs” were going to last. It was understood that Mom would come and get me, letting me know I could “re-enter” our world together. It seemed like this time spent in isolation and alienation might last forever (even though it was never too long.) I was haunted by thoughts of my trespass, longing for a chance to try again, eager to hear my mom’s footstep and her soft voice saying, “It’s time to come out now.” I loved that first, forgiving hug.
I can only imagine how Israel must have felt when God started speaking to them again and said, “It’s over and done with.” It’s time to come out. My heart swells; theirs must have burst, with the joy and love of reunion.

I’m Pastor Kim, and I’ve been on the pastoral staff at BAC for a little over 13 years. Reflecting on my childhood brings me into pondering “preparation.” My mom was amazing. Remembering her, especially during the Christmas season, brings such a smile to my face. My mom loved to give gifts. She PREPARED to give Christmas gifts. She did so much preparing that this special delight of hers wasn’t limited to just a few days or weeks before Christmas. No, this was something she did all year round. She’d see something in March or July and think how perfect it would be for my dad or brother or me. And she’d get it. She didn’t care that it wasn’t Christmas yet. She’d hide it away and keep it for Christmas. We were always on her mind. Sometimes during spring cleaning (yes, months after Christmas,) she’d find something in the hall closet that she had hidden away long before Christmas and then couldn’t remember where she’d put it because she’d hidden it so well! I can remember her laugh from down our hallway and she’d come out with a box or bag saying, “I meant to give this to you at Christmas. So, MERRY CHRISTMAS!” My mom’s preparation for Christmas really had no beginning or end. It was part of how I was loved all year round. I’m so grateful for how my mom prepared me to receive this kind of love when it was given to me in my savior, Jesus. (Yes, it was spring!)