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December 15, 2014

Living on the Edge of Promises

From The Upper Room Disciplines 2014, page 413. Used by permission.


Read Luke 1:38

We are almost there: “there,” in the particulars of this season, being Christmas. We are but a few short days away from the promise kept of a Child born for all God’s children. But in the broader vision of faith, of which Christmas is a signpost, we are also almost there: “there” being the final coming of God’s promised realm. The word Ad-vent literally means “coming toward” and embraces both the Child-King born in a manger and the Sovereign Lord who will usher in history’s end—and the new creation’s beginning. We are almost there. Do you believe that? Do you believe you live on the edge of such promises—and if so, where does your life evidence those promises?

Mary stands poised on that edge in today’s verse. Promises have been offered. A choice must be made. Imagine someone standing on the edge of a high-dive platform beside a pool for the first time. A deep breath is taken. Will the step forward be taken: into the rush of air speeding by, not knowing exactly what the feel of striking water from this height will be, not sure how deep she will plunge before breaking back to the surface?

“Here am I,” Mary whispers,“. . . let it be with me according to your word.” With that, Mary steps off into the sheer air of trust, a headlong descent—or is it ascent?—into a lifelong experience of what it means to live in trust of God’s promises.

Advent bids us live on the edge of promise turning to fulfillment: not just by singing carols and reciting creeds; but rather, like Mary, by the gracious abandonment of who we are into the depth of holy possibilities of who we might yet be. “Here am I. . . . let it be with me.”

Here am I, O God. What word, what promise, would you have me “let it be” this Advent? Amen.


John Indermark is a minister in the United Church of Christ and a graduate of Eden Theological Seminary. His ministry consists of writing Christian education curricula for The Present Word, Seasons of the Spirit, and The New International Lesson Annual. John has authored nine spiritual formation books published by Upper Room Books. Since moving from full-time parish ministry into his ministry of writing in 1992, John has also provided extended pulpit supply and transitional ministry in various Presbyterian and Lutheran congregations in southwest Washington and northwest Oregon.


The Upper Room Disciplines is a best-selling book of daily devotions published annually by Upper Room Books. Each week’s readings are reflections on scripture passages from the lectionary for that period. On Mondays the first reading for the week will be posted.
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