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“When Elizabeth was six months pregnant, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a city in Galilee, to a virgin who was engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendent of David’s house. The virgin’s name was Mary. When the angel came to her, he said, ‘Rejoice, favored one! The Lord is with you!’” (Luke 1:26-28)
We can only begin to imagine what it was like for young Mary to be approached by the angel Gabriel. It must have been a surreal experience—and it certainly summoned immense courage from her. In the verses that follow the quoted scripture above from Luke’s Gospel, Mary learns that she will bear in her womb the very Son of God, Jesus Christ
But before receiving this big news, Gabriel greets Mary by inviting her to rejoice, for she is favored and declares that the Lord is with her! As we prepare ourselves for the fourth and final week of Advent, we are invited to receive this love-filled greeting from Gabriel to Mary as it if were intended for us: we, too, are favored as beloved children of God — and the Lord is with us!
And then we are invited to respond to God’s love and care for us by extending God’s love to others, including through our advocacy to end hunger and poverty. Let us rejoice and pray
God of Eternal Love,
We give thanks for your love that sustains us and your light that illuminates the path before us on this sacred journey of life.
As a difficult year draws to a close, may we take time to notice the ways you have showed up and provided for us during this trying and uncertain season.
Enable us to remain grounded in your love and empower us by your Holy Spirit to share that love to those we encounter this holiday season, whether it be through words of affirmation, gratitude written on a Christmas card, a spontaneous call with those we haven’t spoken to in a while, or even a call or email to members of Congress to advocate for equitable and just policies to end hunger.
Enfold us with your comforting grace as we await in hope the promise of the birth of your Son, Jesus Christ.
In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
As Christmas draws near, may you notice God’s abundant love for you, knowing that God favors you and loves you enough to be with you always — through the peaks and valleys of life.
Prayers to End Hunger will resume its normal schedule starting Friday, Jan. 15, delivering one prayer every two weeks to your inbox. Until then, may you and those you love have a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, and safe new year.
"Rejoice, favored one! The Lord is with you!"
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