I’m following a fantastic devotional series called “Christmas Joy” by Mel Lawrenz, from The Brook Network. Please join me. Here’s day four:
God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.” –Luke 1:26-31
Can any of us fathom the immense amount of faith Mary was called on to have? She was young. She was a virgin. She was probably expecting to lead no more than an ordinary life in a no name Galilean town.
Then the message came from heaven.
To be visited by an angel would be miraculous in itself. But the words! Those powerful, surreal words: “The Lord is with you.” Certainly that is true for all of us, generally speaking, but in this case the emphasis was: The Lord is with you, Mary. The creator of the universe has handpicked “you who are highly favored”. As with Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, Ruth and David, God had chosen Mary to be his instrument, to do his work in the world. A high favor indeed.
“You will be with child,” in a way that no woman before or since has been with child. A virgin, and yet, with child. It is a difficult concept for us to grasp. Within Mary, God did something utterly unique—not too hard for him to do, but often very complicated to understand. Is it too hard for the Creator of the universe to cause a woman to have, by an act of creation, a complete zygote that would become an embryo, which would become a fetus, which would become a newborn baby? No. The virginal conception is only impossible to believe if you think that the Creator can never do anything just once. But who can make up such a rule for God?
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