Mary, Mother of the Messiah
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you! ” Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. For the word of God will never fail. ” Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.
Luke 1:26-38 NLT
It’s only a few days till Christmas, so we will focus on some of the characters in the story. It is only fitting to begin with Mary—the woman chosen to be the mother of God’s Son.
I can’t imagine her joy, confusion, and anxiety of being visited by an angel with the news she was chosen to carry the Messiah. Who do you tell? Who will believe you?
It appears perhaps the only people she told were Joseph and her relative, Elizabeth, who had also had an angelic visit and miraculous conception.
Sometimes we can’t share everything God shares with us because other people won’t understand (good study for that would be Joseph from the Old Testament who shared his dreams with his brothers. It caused jealously and him getting sold as a slave).
I believe that Mary held a lot of things in her heart until after the crucifixion and resurrection. That was the time to tell the full story because people could then see the end results. When an angel gives the first step in the process, it is not the time to go public.
One observation is how many times angels show up in the Christmas narrative. They come to Zechariah to announce the coming of John the Baptist, then to Mary, and then to Joseph. Then, Joseph gets another angel to tell him to take his family to Egypt and another angel to tell him when it was time to leave Egypt.
I’ve never seen an angel or had one speak to me. But I’m pretty sure if it would shake me up. I remember when I started in the ministry, a wise man told me the clearer God gives you direction, the more difficult the journey. That had to be the case for Mary and Joseph. They got angels visiting them, perhaps because God knew they would need a clear-cut moment to pin as God’s direction. They were going to be misunderstood, talked about, and I’m sure ridiculed. They needed the strength of a clear word from God.
I believe God still speaks today. The Holy Spirit can give us clear words—if we listen. I believe He will confirm those words in ways that strengthen our faith for the journey. Let’s press in and learn to listen to His direction. It may be that God wants to birth something in us that could transform our world.
Holy Spirit, help me to listen to You. Help me to know Your voice. Help me to have the courage to act on Your direction.
Scroll down to share what you feel God is saying to you based on today’s reading.