Luke 1:30-33 – But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name 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 the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." (NIV)
Being a mother has been, I confess, one of the most frightening responsibilities I have ever been given. From the time I was told of each pregnancy, until now as I look at how they've grown nearly to adolescence, I have felt compelled at times just to stare at them in wonder. God has given my husband and me these wonderful gifts, whom we must nurture and guide into a future that sometimes does not look very welcoming.
I can't even imagine (even though I am trying to do so right now) what it would have been like for Mary to have an angel visit her with such extraordinary news. What enormous faith it must have taken to not only sing of her blessings, but to go forward into the incredible job of nurturing and guiding the "Son of the Most High" into adulthood!
Mary probably had no real idea what lay ahead for her son when God's message came to her. She could only know that her son was the gift, more powerful than even the angel who had frightened her half to death when he told her the news.
God knew what lay ahead, as He became an infant with the awesome power that had formed entire worlds somehow locked inside a tiny, fragile, human body. He was going to have to grow up, struggle with temptation, and experience the betrayal of close friends and the persecution of the leaders of his time. He was going to have to die on a cross, and then rise again and defeat the powers of death.
The season of Advent would have us reflecting on what it is like to wait for something wonderful to arrive. Advent would have us trying to feel, as they did so long ago, the uncertainty and struggle of wondering just how God would send his Messiah. Advent, in the 21st century, would have us to remember the knowledge of what God has done for us through his Son, Jesus.
Prayer: Dear God, help us to look at tiny babies and wonder at how you came to us in such a small body and ultimately gave us everything in yourself. Help the awe we feel strengthen us to serve you. In Christ's name. Amen.