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The Power of Imitation by Becky Gossett

An Advent Devotion
The Canticles of Christmas
Week One: Ave Maria

Thursday, December 7

1 Thessalonians 1:2-10

You paid careful attention to the way we lived among you, and determined to live that way yourselves. In imitating us, you imitated the Master. Do you know that all over the provinces of both Macedonia and Achaia believers look up to you? The word has gotten around. Your lives are echoing the Master’s Word, not only in the provinces but all over the place. The news of your faith in God is out. We don’t even have to say anything anymore—you’re the message! (1 Thessalonians 1:5, 7-10)

Wow, that was quite a compliment given to the people of Thessalonica! By imitating Paul, Silas, and Timothy who brought the Good News, the Thessalonians imitated the Master. Their reputation was excellent and others could learn about Jesus by watching them. Imitation is a powerful tool.

My friend who teaches fourth grade told me about the way she often wrangled her hair into a bun held by pencils as the day got busy. Over the first few weeks of school, she noticed a few students who began to do the same pencils-in-the-bun thing. This helped her be keenly aware that she was being watched closely and was mindful to use her power carefully. Some parents may remember a time that their young child said something surprising (and slightly inappropriate!), only to be told by the child, after a reprimand, that they learned it from a relative. Oops! Imitation is a tricky thing; it can be used for good, or . . . well, you know.

In the Bible, we have the perfect model in front of us.

During this Advent season, will we consider Mary’s blind obedience and love as worthy of imitation? Will we strive to be more like those shepherds who reverently honored the newborn baby Jesus? Can we look at our Savior’s life, from humble birth in a stable to death on the cross, and think about him as our primary model to imitate? I wonder if we will carry our imitation into Walmart when we are last-minute shopping, and into Price Chopper when the checkout line is way too long.

Who will we imitate this Advent season? Who will imitate us?

by Becky Gossett