Cue the Single Girl
“26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 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, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.”
Luke 1: 26-38 NIV
Every good story has a hero or heroine, and the story of Christ’s birth definitely delivers. This is the ultimate ‘single girl finds herself in a unique situation right at Christmas time’ plot. Her situation is so unique that no one would ever believe her without divine intervention. A teenage girl betrothed to, let’s assume, the handsomest bachelor in town. She’s probably planning a simple wedding and dreaming of their life together; the kids they will have, maybe their status in the community. Then she is visited by an angel. Now, we read this and it doesn’t seem like a big deal. Most stories in the Old Testament are filled with the voice of God and angels of the Lord appearing. Let’s not ignore the fact that that’s what they were to Mary too, stories in the Tanakh (this would be like a Jewish form of the Old Testament). A visit from an angel was not normal for her. She might have thought that she was dreaming or maybe had some bad figs at dinner that night. When she realized none of that was true she was terrified, as I would be. Now let’s forget the terrifying angel standing before her for a minute. He now tells her that she will have a virgin birth and be the mother…..of the son of God. I would not be surprised if in that moment there were crickets chirping and nothing else for quite a while. But this teenage heroine of our story wraps her mind around it and says, “may your word to me be fulfilled (Luke 1:38 NIV)”.
Some of us are mothers and we have experienced firsthand sharing the news of our pregnancy with the father and other loved ones. Some of us also know the fear associated with a teen pregnancy or of sharing the news with family and friends (at any age) when it will not be well received. I would even venture to say that there are those of us whom have tried to lie about the identity of the father. None of us, however, could ever imagine the threat of being stoned as the pregnancy is discovered or even of holding to the claim of a virgin birth. Joseph could have and should have left her high and dry. Her parents could have called her a disgrace to the family and thrown her out. But God knew that, just as Mary would never understand what was happening to her without prior “heavenly” knowledge, neither would Joseph. Matthew chapter one recounts Joseph’s divine marriage counseling, so to speak, and how he came to accept Jesus as his own son.
So far, we have discussed the UN-relatable found in this, but we don’t have to look that far to discover what IS relatable. Let’s start with something small. When was the last time that you were uncertain about what your spouse or even just a close friend told you they were planning on doing? Perhaps a new path or direction that they felt led to follow, or a decision that they were making. Did you trust that they were listening to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and go along with it? Or no? Can you imagine how different the circumstances would have been for Mary if Joseph were not standing in faith and in agreement with her. She could have been the subject of ridicule and become an outcast in her own home, save the one single person that said, “I believe you, let’s do this”. Let’s flip that for a harder question. When was the last time that you were faced with something and needed just one person to stand with you? I think the most relatable aspect of this portion of the story would be the fear that Mary and Joseph both felt. The angel of the Lord told both Mary and Joseph not to be afraid. The phrase “fear not” is in the Bible 365 times. God knows that fear is prevalent in our lives and repeatedly uses His word to combat it. As society changes, it seems we have more and more to fear of the world. As we progress and change, we have more and more things to fear in our jobs, our marriages and relationships, our children and just from life itself. How do we let this fear affect us? Do we let it cripple us, or do we trust the Lord our God like Mary and Joseph did?
Has God ever presented you with something that you were not exactly excited to jump on board with? What was it?
Why were you not keen on the idea?
What was your response to God?
Mary told the angel “May your word to me be fulfilled” (Luke 1:38). Out of her obedience to the Lord (and trust, I might add) she birthed something that changed the course of the world. She birthed the Savior. What is God asking you to “birth” for Him in your life?
In your family? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
In your community?__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
God, we thank you for one teenage girl who trusted you enough to say, “may your word to me be fulfilled”. We thank you for what that obedience birthed in our lives and that it shows us how much you love us and ultimately allows us to be with You in heaven for eternity. We pray that we would be able to follow the example that Mary laid out for us in being willing to be obedient to Your call on our lives, even if we do it afraid.