Christmas is almost here! My two-year-old granddaughter has been counting down the days, filled with expectation. In light of the coming holiday, today’s episode will continue from where we left off last week.

God had just given Mary a huge assignment. I love that she didn’t run to her finance with the news first. She ran to her cousin, who had also experienced a miracle of God and was expecting an unexpected baby.

Mary’s cousin Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and her greeting to Mary was exactly what Mary needed to hear: “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

Mary responded in lyrical fashion. One line from those lyrics inspired our declaration for this week. It’s from Luke 1:50, which says, “His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.”

The word “fear” here is a different form of the Greek verb “phobos” than the angel used when he told Mary not to be afraid (Luke 1:30). Gabriel spoke of being frightened or alarmed, but Mary spoke of reverence and awe. In other words, God’s mercy extends to those who are awestruck by him. So, when you make this week’s declaration, think not of cowering before God, but instead think of bowing in reverence or standing in awe.

Elizabeth told Mary that she was blessed as someone who believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her. You are blessed too, my friend. When God gives you a huge assignment that frightens you, remember his mercy and his faithfulness.

Longing to Belong: Discovering the Joy of Acceptance is now available for purchase on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Walmart.com, Booksamillion.com and Christianbook.com. It’s also available for download to your Kindle or from the Apple store for your iBooks app. Or visit my website to purchase a copy at shawnamariebryant.com

This week’s scripture: Luke 1: 39-56