In 12 days it will be Christmas Eve. I hope you are on your way to ready, if not completely prepared yet. Personally, I am just about finished with my preparations. I have a few gifts that I am waiting for them to arrive in the mail. And I have a lot of wrapping, some mailing and a little grocery shopping to do. But that’s it. And I am pleased.
I think the time has come to make the turn from waiting for the birth to telling the story of the birth in this Advent Calendar blog project. I love the story of Jesus’ birth. I love all the details and the way it came together. So I want to take my time with this story, to tell it slowly over the next 12 days.
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!”
Luke 1:26-33 NLT
When I was a child, this part of the story scared me. I mean, I understood that God is love and that therefore one might expect that God’s messenger would be loving as well. But I was terrified at the idea of an Angel waking me up in the middle of the night. I didn’t want God sending me any messengers. The thought just scared me.
So I love that Luke says that Mary was confused and disturbed. I bet she was! I would be too, if this happened to me.
But I as I grew up I began to understand that somehow Mary had courage even in the midst of being confused and disturbed. That somehow, this messenger was welcome, even in the midst of her fear. Maybe because his words are so good. His message is one of hope and joy and the absolute confirmation of God’s love for Mary.
Maybe because angels – who have been in the presence of God – have a calming way about them.
Or maybe because Mary already had faith in God, she already lived with peace in her heart – peace that passes understanding. Peace that her son would bring into the world and share with all who chose to follow Him.
(PS…it is really, really hard to find non-cheesy angel images!)