And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name [was] Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, [thou that art] highly favoured, the Lord [is] with thee: blessed [art] thou among women. And when she saw [him], she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. Luke 1:26-35
Imagine being young.
– a virgin
– posing social problems for Joseph and her family
– traveling while in the last trimester
– financially strapped
– arriving at Bethlehem with no reservation for lodging
– sleeping in a stable
– the stable is a cave
– sharing giving birth with a lot of animals
– giving birth to the son of God
– having only a feeding trough for a cradle.
– gaining notariaty from the angels, the shepherds, and the magi.
That night in a cave changed the face of the earth… and that young woman courageously followed the plans God had to write her into his story.
As I consider the birth of Jesus, I wonder how difficult it must have been to be Mary, who was a good woman, an honest woman. Society certainly would not have been as understanding of a pregnancy outside of wedlock. She must have felt incredible pressures from her family and her world…. and these pressures would give way to raising the son of God…. and learning so many things about his future that would break her heart. Her role was a challenging one.
And her response was something I always hope I would have…. she completely accepted this responsibility. She embraced the role, and counted herself blessed.
In the midst of your plans, meals, presents, and celebration ponder how this amazing event must have changed Mary’s life in ways we might not fully appreciate. Merry Christmas all.