What is the first question someone asks after you get married? When will you have kids?
As we continue in our Advent series, The Ten Days of Christmas, we explore a birth announcement like no other.
On the fourth day of Christmas, the angel Gabriel visits another character in our story and reveals to them a birth announcement so shocking for the times; it could have gotten someone killed.
Our times have changed, and having a baby out of wedlock may seem more like the norm than having one after you are married. However, back in biblical times, having a baby out of wedlock spelled almost certain disaster for the young lady.
Yesterday, the angel Gabriel visited Zechariah, who was skeptical that he and his wife Elizabeth would have a baby in the later stages of life, and his voice was taken from him for nine months.
We will come back to Zechariah later in our series, but the angel Gabriel was not done with the big birth announcements – in fact – this birth announcement was the most important one he would deliver.
Mary was engaged to Joseph – a descendant of King David – received a special visitor – the angel Gabriel.
Gabriel greets her with these words,
“Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”Luke 1:28
Favored woman – the Lord is with you.
Mary, like Zechariah, must have had a deep, abiding relationship with her Lord. She was unmarried, young, and chosen by God.
The angel greets her with favored woman. Sometimes when we hear words like “favored,” we think they must have done something spectacular to earn those words.
In Mary’s case, there is no mention of her accolades in Scripture. Scholars believe she was 12-14 years old at the time of her engagement to Joseph.
Before you start thinking about how creepy or weird this sounds that she is getting married so young, this was common practice during this time in biblical history. We don’t understand the custom of the day because we view it from our current times perspective.
Mary had the same reaction Zechariah had – instant fear. Gabriel quickly said, “Do not be afraid.” It must have worked because we don’t hear any more about her fear.
I wonder if I would have had that same reaction?
The Birth Announcement
“’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!’”Luke 1:30-33
I wonder if Mary reacted with…”I’m going to have a what, a baby, I’m too young.”
It must have been a lot for Mary to take in. Let’s rewind for one second:
- Mary’s getting married
- Angel Gabriel visits her
- Gabriel tells Mary she’s having a baby (and she’s not married)
What could possibly go wrong with this announcement?
That’s how we might react, but Mary asks the most logical question – “how can this be? I am a virgin.”
Biology teachers all over the world are cheering – something they taught stuck.
Its a logical question, but the answer is super-natural. Gabriel replies,
“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.”Luke 1:35
The ultimate birth announcement has just been delivered, and mixed in with the announcement is a second birth announcement of John to be born to her relative Elizabeth.
Birth announcements are exciting! When we get to heaven, wow, what a conversation to be had with Mary – awesome.
I wonder if Mary would have the same reaction if she knew that 33 years later, her Son would be nailed to a cross?
What we know about Mary is that she knew God, feared (in a good way) God, and was a servant of God. She was prepared to be used by God in a way no one else would be.
Something tells me Mary knew that Jesus (whom she was carrying) had a special purpose – immaculate conception was probably the giveaway.
But, the angel’s words also foretold his role, “he will be called the Son of God.”
Our purpose may not be to bring the Son of God into the world, but we can learn from Mary what it means to be a good servant.
- Loved God
- Had a relationship with God
- Obeyed God
Can you say the same thing?
Prayer: Lord, the birth of Your Son, is the most precious birth announcement that was ever delivered. Thank you for sending Him for us so we can live in eternity with You. Please help us be like Mary and be good stewards and servants of what you have entrusted to us. Amen!