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. 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 conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 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, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
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 the Son of God. 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. For no word from God will ever fail.”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. (NIV)
In our present time, a woman pregnant, out of wedlock, is not uncommon; in fact, it has become quite acceptable. But in Mary’s day, to be found pregnant, out of wedlock, was an offense punishable by death: stoned to death. A horrible, vicious, and agonizing death.
Mary’s immediate response of obedience to the angel to be used by God should never be taken without due consideration. There are many things to be considered here. There is Joseph, her soon to be husband; her parents. What would their reaction be? Relatives, friends, and neighbors. The whispers would be heard throughout the country. Her reputation would be marred. Who would believe her story of the angel sent by God?
But Mary believed. Mary had faith; great faith.
It is at this season when I am in awe of Mary’s faith. I think of my own faith and continue to pray that someday, my faith will be as strong as Mary’s. That my response to God will be so immediate, so compliant; without hesitation, doubt, selfishness, or greed.
Thank you God, for all you have done for us. Help us to follow you down the path you have predestined for each of us. Amen.