Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with Child from the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 1:18)
The Holy Spirit never says anything by accident. That's why the words in Matthew 1 are so disturbing: Mary "was found to be with child." What lies behind those words, "was found"? It doesn't sound like she had the chance to break the news gently. It sounds rather like someone found out—like there was a shocking moment of discovery.
And we know what goes with those moments, don't we? Terror. Anger. Yelling. Disbelief. A great deal of pain. Family upset. I rather doubt Mary's home was a happy place, at least for a while.
Of course, Mary had a perfectly innocent explanation—though given human nature, I wonder how many people believed her. But we have our "found out" moments, too. Those sickening moments when a friend or family member confronts us with a truth we tried to keep hidden. The evidence they cite—phone calls, text messages, internet searches, the eyewitness of a friend or neighbor. Our own terror and shame, as we wonder what the long-hidden truth will do to our families, our jobs, our reputations.
In times like these there is nothing to do but flee to the One who saves us from shame and fear—to Jesus, who knows the worst about us and loves us anyway. There is no need to worry about being "found out" with Him. He already knows. And knowing, He has already laid down His life for us, doing everything necessary to rescue us and to set us free from our terror and guilt.
He will never abandon us, no matter what we are found to have done. He says, "Come to Me," and He means it. He will not shout at us. He will not ask us unanswerable questions like "Why?" He will receive us, wash us, heal us, and make us new. He will keep us as His own forever.
With Jesus our Savior, there is never any "found out." There is only "found"—we are found safe, in Him.
THE PRAYER: Dearest Lord, hold on to me when I am terrified and ashamed. Amen.
* What part do you hate most about being "found out" when you have done wrong?
* When has someone shown you mercy and compassion when you didn't deserve it?
* If you are willing, tell of a time when Jesus comforted you when you felt guilty or ashamed.
Advent Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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