Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
(The Advent: Faces within the Christmas Story.)
Luke 1:26-27 (NIV)
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, 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.
Luke 1:26-27 (MSG)
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name, Mary.
“Now in the sixth month [of Elizabeth’s pregnancy] the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, a descendant of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.” -(AMPLIFIED)
Mary a very young girl, some believe as young as twelve or thirteen, called upon to do something extraordinary for God. Some people may wonder if Mary was even old enough to make this decision, that God asked of her, on her own. Yet, we find that when the angel puts forth God’s request to Mary there is no hesitation on her part.
Recently engaged to Joseph, Mary out of all the faces in our story had the most to lose; yet she willingly gave her all. The Amplified Version’s footnote gives us an idea of what was entailed within the Jewish tradition of engagement. “The first stage of marriage (called shiddukin in Hebrew) in Jewish tradition and law, usually lasting for a year before the wedding night; unlike an engagement, it was legally binding and required a divorce to nullify it. The woman remained with her parents during the betrothal year and was referred to as a “wife” even though the marriage was not consummated during this period of time.”
Mary was just an ordinary Jewish girl, looking forward to being married. In just a few moments she found that her life would forever be changed. Gabriel, God’s Messenger appears to her at her home bringing with him a Message from the throne room of God Almighty. ” Greetings! You are favored, and the Lord is with you! [Among all women on the earth, you have been blessed.]” -Luke 1:28 (VOICE)
Baffled by this greeting from this glorified being and being young and inexperienced as she was, we can quite easily understand Mary’s surprise. I think most of us, even if we are not young any longer, would have reacted much the same way.
Gabriel proceeds to give Mary the Message sent from God Most High, “Mary, don’t be afraid. You have found favor with God. Listen, you are going to become pregnant. You will have a son, and you must name Him “Savior,” or Jesus. Jesus will become the greatest among men. He will be known as the Son of the Highest God. God will give Him the throne of His ancestor David, and He will reign over the covenant family of Jacob forever.” -Luke 1:30-33 (VOICE)
Once the angel has finished delivering his Message we find Mary responding in this way, “Here I am, the Lord’s humble servant. As you have said, let it be done to me.” -Luke 1:38 (VOICE)
Notice there is no, “Let me think about it.” or “I will pray about it.” or “I will get back to you about that.” This child of 12 years old basically stepped up to the challenge readily and said, “Here I am, Lord. I am ready to do whatever it is that you need me to do.” What a servant’s heart this young girl had. She humbly submitted to the Master’s plan, without contention.
Mary’s life on this particular day was changed forever. This one decision changed the course of her life as she had expected it to be. (A nice quiet life, married to Joseph with a handful of children in the quiet town of Nazareth. Nothing different, just the same ho-hum; the way things had been for many years for her parents, grandparents and great grandparents.)
Mary was about to set out on the greatest adventure of her life. It would be filled with great joy, as well as great sadness. There would be times that her family had to run for their very lives. There were to be times that were so blessed and amazing that she treasured them in her heart for as long as she lived.
When Mary goes to visit her very pregnant kinswoman, Elizabeth, and shares her news her heart is so full of wonder, praise and joy that she sings out this song that we call the Magnificat: “I’m bursting with God-news;
I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It’s exactly what he promised,
beginning with Abraham and right up to now.” -Luke 1:46-55 (MSG)
I wonder: what would our response be if God sent and angel to us with such a mission as Mary was called to undertake. Would we be able to respond as she did without hesitation?
Lord, may I too respond to your summoning without hesitation; just as Mary did. I am willing to be used by you for whatever purposes you need of me. Lord, I want to obediently do your will. May I be a blessing to you and to others who you put in my pathway this Christmas and all year long.