Since we are fully into the Christmas season, I have been rereading the biblical Christmas accounts trying to make the events come to life in my mind, trying to connect. Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, Zechariah, the shepherds, and the wise men, they are all real people like you and me. We should be able to relate to them.
I was reading in Luke about when the angel, Gabriel, came to announce to Mary, “You’re pregnant!”
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.”
I immediately thought of when I discovered I was pregnant with my second son. The thoughts. The feelings. The need I had for God to give me the right perspective on this new life forming inside of me. You see I was not expecting those two pink lines to show up on the pregnancy test. I wasn’t planning on getting pregnant and surely not this soon, 10 months after birthing my first son. The timing was not right. My body wasn’t ready, meaning I still hadn’t lost the weight from the prior pregnancy. Our job situations were not as we desired.
Kind of like Mary, she wasn’t expecting an angel to appear to her and say, “Hey, I know this is going to sound crazy and impossible, but you are going to have a baby and not just any baby, but a baby that will grow to be a King who will reign forever.” What does one say to that?
I know all the thoughts that raced through my head. One of which was how can this be? I mean I know how it happened, it just didn’t seem possible in that moment. But for Mary she really needed to know how this could happen, as she was not yet wed and still a virgin.
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
When I read the account I have always imagined Mary asking Gabriel in a quiet, calm British accent, “Um, excuse me sir, but how can this be?” I don’t know why this is the image in my mind, perhaps it is due to how serene artists have portrayed her through the centuries. As for the British accent, I don’t know where that comes from. But I have worked with teenagers for over 13 years and I can hardly believe one of them would not freak out to discover they are pregnant. I mean at age 34 I was freaking out at the news. Who wouldn’t? Having a baby is a big deal!
I can only speculate as to how Mary responded in her thoughts and possibly aloud to Gabriel as we only know for certain what was said by what has been recorded in Luke 1. And it is her recorded response that challenges me; “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”
Basically, she accepts. She accepts the plans God has for her even if they are unexpected and unplanned. She accepts the plan that is going to be difficult and humiliating at times. I need to be like Marry and accept what God requests of me.
So I wonder, what is God asking of me, his highly favored one, that I must accept? What is God asking of you, his highly favored one, that you must accept?
Do not be afraid, for whatever God asks you to do it may be for the purpose of growing the King in you.
May you enjoy this song. May this me one of our prayers this Christmas season, be born in me.