“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” ~ Luke 1:26-33
While taking a step back in the timeline of the Christmas story, we look at the good news of the Messiah’s arrival being told to Mary. Gabriel has come to Mary to prepare her for her life as she knows it to change. Gabriel brings news that not only is she is pregnant, but she is pregnant with the Messiah Himself.
It is through the lives of Mary and Joseph that we begin to see some of the Messianic prophecies take shape. In the unmarried and virgin Mary we see Isaiah 7:14 come to life:
“But the Lord will still show you this sign: The young woman is pregnant and will give birth to a son. She will name him Immanuel.”
Then through Joseph, of the house of David, we see the Davidic covenant coming into full view:
“When your days are fulfilled to walk with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you, but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever.’” ~ 1 Chronicles 17:11-14
While Mary is no doubt scared – of both the uncertainty of what was to come and of the public criticism she’s going to face – she displays an childlike faith. In seeing God’s promises coming true – and in hearing God’s messenger – Mary embraces the plan that God is laying out. As we go one to see in v. 38, Mary is the walking example of 2 Timothy 1:7 as she shoves fear to the side and rests in God’s power and love.
God’s plan of redemption is one that is remarkable but for all those involved – like Mary & the virgin birth to Jesus in the garden – following God’s will can be difficult. Yet, there’s comfort is seeing God’s track record of keeping His promises and providing for His people. Faith calls us to do God’s will in light of what He has done even when we can’t see what He will do.
As Christmas approaches, may we embrace God’s will for our lives with an earnest, childlike faith.That may be easier said than done for some. This time of year has a way of heightening our hurt and fears whether they be a health issue, financial hardship or losing a loved one in the past year.
As we face what God has for our lives, we step forward in faith knowing that God has proven Himself faithful to His people. We have no reason to fear what may be next. Thanks be to God we have Immanuel, God with us!
Take time to seek God’s strength for the times when your faith is challenged and fear rages. May we trust with a dependency that a child shows for their father, knowing that God has been and always will be faithful.