It is Christmas time. There are 7 days until Christmas. We have our Christmas trees up, stockings hung, lights draped around the biggest tree in our yard, and a wreath hung up on the door. I love Christmas! I love the Christmas lights glittering and sparkling, spreading light into the darkness, which reminds me of the meaning of Christmas. I marvel at how God sent his son down to earth to save us.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, was about 15 years old when the angel, Gabriel, told her she would carry the son of God. She was pledged to be married, as was the custom of that time, as well as the age of 15, which is considered very young now. The angel told her that she was “highly favored” by God, she would conceive and give birth to the “Son of the Most High”. Mary asked how this could be since she was a virgin. The angel told her that the Holy Spirit will come to her and God will overshadow her, and she will give birth to the Son of God. Mary gives a faithful response. “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”
The Birth of Jesus Foretold
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
–Luke 1:26-38 (NIV)
Mary was blessed with the miracle of carrying the son of God. The angel Gabriel even mentions that Elizabeth is pregnant in her old ago. Abraham’s wife, Sarah was 90 when she conceived her first child, Isaac. This is not the first time God has blessed women with children. I have heard stories recently about women not being able to have children, and then suddenly they too are blessed with children. In my own life, I had three miscarriages. I was devastated, so I went to church and asked them to pray for me to have a baby. And, I had a beautiful, healthy baby boy, followed by a beautiful, healthy baby girl two years later. God is good. God still blesses women, who have not conceived after years of longing for a baby, with a baby or more than one baby. I am so thankful that God made me a mom of two children. I still see God performing these miracles today. Mary was unique, because she carried the son of God. Jesus was half God, half human. Sometimes, its hard to wrap my head around the concept, but I believe it is true. God can do anything. “For no word from God will ever fail.”
God chose a young woman to bring the Son of God into the world. God spoke to Joseph in a dream, so he would still marry Mary. Joseph was a very good man, humble and a faithful believer in God. When Mary learns that she will carry the Son of God, she gives a heartfelt song of praise to God.
And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”
Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.
–Luke 1:46-56 (NIV)
I love Mary’s response. When the Lord calls on us to do his work, do we always respond with praise? Or, do we grumble a bit that it’s too hard? I can learn many lessons from Mary, especially to embrace the Lord’s will and thank God for the opportunity to serve.