<div><p><span style="color: #231f20; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 14px;"> <span style="color: #2ea3f2; font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-top: 0px;"><b>Advent Day 20 - Friday, December 15</b></span> <br> <br></span></p><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --><div><p>At times of the unexpected, I am at first always taken back by the fear that often comes with the announcement of such an unanticipated event. Mary seemed to take the news of her pregnancy without a great deal of fear, as described by Luke. Yet when my 16-year-old daughter, a soon-to-be senior in high school, shared that she was pregnant, I was gripped by fear, not knowing what to do or say at the time. <!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --><br><br><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] -->I left the living room at that moment knowing I needed to be alone with God, so I jumped in the truck and drove to Our Savior’s. Luckily the doors were open and I could make my way to the chapel, where I knelt at the altar and wept tears of fear for a future I had not envisioned. “What am I supposed to do, oh Lord?” was my plea as I knelt there in silence. <!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --><br><br><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] -->Soon I heard God tell me, “You need to go love her, just as I have loved you.” <!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --><br><br><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] -->And so I did with a great peace in my heart. A few months later we rejoiced in the birth of a baby girl who, now 19 years later, recently just began her first year of college. <!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --><br><br><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] -->Today I live in greater confidence, knowing how the Lord works in our lives—perhaps the kind of confidence that Mary felt when the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God” (Luke 1:30). <!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --><br><br><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] -->While the path in life may be unconventional, we can greet each day with the assurance of God’s love and know that we are favored in God’s eyes. As God has first loved us, let us go about the business of loving and caring for our neighbor and share the good news of hope because of the resurrection. Praise be to God. <!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --><br><br><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] -->Fred Aderhold</p></div>