It’s almost Christmas! Just a day away. I cannot help but marvel at how it was over 2,000 years ago, when baby Jesus was about to be born. I especially think of Mary, His earthly mother. Her belly so big; the baby perhaps kicking, raring to come out into the world, while she and Joseph are busy looking for a place where she can deliver. Do you wonder how Mary felt then? I do, especially because, as scripture tells us, she knew who she was carrying in her womb. The angel Gabriel announced to her that God chose her to be the mother of the most awaited one, the Messiah.
In Luke 1, verse 30-33, the angel Gabriel appeared to an astonished girl of 14 and said, “Don’t be afraid, Mary. You have found favor [a] with God. You will become pregnant, give birth to a son, and name him Jesus. He will be a great man and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. Your son will be king of Jacob’s people forever, and his kingdom will never end.”
A mysterious and mystifying message, though a sacred one.
Mary’s response to this announcement was a question that any woman would have asked – how could this be when she was a virgin. The angel revealed that the Holy Spirit would come upon her since she was favored by God. And so Mary’s baby was conceived of the Holy Spirit. Mary then replied, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38).
Mary accepted the announcement with humble submission to the Almighty God’s work of sending down to earth, through her, the savior who would redeem humankind back to God’s kingdom. Though little did she know then how her child would save the world.
What must Mary be feeling just hours before Jesus’ birth? A young woman of 15, thrust into this blessed role of delivering to the world the Holy One. Was she anxious? Was she afraid? Did she feel inadequate? Was she nervously building a list in her head on how to care for someone so mighty, someone coming into the world with a divine commission to be king of an eternal kingdom, as Gabriel had proclaimed.
Yet, about to give birth, there was nowhere available a comfortable place for delivering one prophesied to be king, but the horses’ stable and a manger for a bed. What must have Mary felt? Did she, for one instance, doubt the angel’s proclamation considering the situation at that moment and the surroundings that were far from a royal setting? Did she feel fear and uncertainty about the responsibility she was about to undertake as the earthly mother of the son of God?
I honestly think, to all my questions – NO. She was a woman of fervent faith, trust and total belief that God would carry through His promise of caring for her, the chosen and favored human mother of His son. No, not with fear or anxiety, but with extreme joy and humility, an exhilarating anticipation of the coming out of the Messiah. Everything paled to that expectation, and she was ready, definitely ready for the fulfillment of the angel’s announcement.
As Christmas draws near, our focus is on celebrating the birth of the son of God, and thanking the Father for His son, Jesus. Do you think Jesus would mind, if we think lovingly and gratefully of his mother Mary, too?