It was scandalous news in that small town. Imagine your girlfriend found out she was pregnant, and it was not by you. All she said was an angel recently showed up and said, “You will be with child and you will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus.” He added to not be afraid. The angel gave some further instructions about what would happen (and how). What would you have done if you were the initially scared female teenager? What would you have done as the initially scared male boyfriend? The angel also told Joseph not to be afraid (Matthew 1:20).
Read Luke 1:26-33 and 2:4-7.
The angelic pronouncement from Gabriel to Mary involved the King of Kings. “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 the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” What would you have done under those circumstances?
Joseph took Mary on a road trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem, with her expecting a child, and neither set of parents traveled with them. How did both mothers not make this trip? Imagine the cool night on the outskirts of Bethlehem when Mary gave birth to a son. She endured the pain of her baby’s arrival with no one around but her carpenter-to-soon-be husband.
Shepherds may have heard angels singing praises to the Baby, before the angel announced to them what just happened. Certainly they were initially terrified when the glory of the Lord shone around them, but the angel said not to be afraid. That’s the third time they said it in this story.
Can you imagine Mary and Joseph hearing a heavenly chorus that night, amidst animal sounds, and the first cries of the baby, God in baby form. A magnificent star illuminated the night sky over the manger, a simple, humble structure for the long way from home, out of town visitors.
Put yourself in the story. As Joseph placed the infant in Mary’s arms, a combination of awe, pain, wonder, and joy must have been piercing their thoughts. The angel had said the baby was “the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:32), but to actually be holding “the” baby? You have to believe the promise from the angel had overwhelmed Mary at times. How do you and your almost husband process several divine encounters that led you to this moment?
As her eyes peered through the darkness and found Joseph’s, both of them must have felt…wait. What must they have felt? The obvious question was how was she going to mother this One whose kingdom would never end? Joseph knew they still were not legally married, too.
What did Mary’s final statement to Gabriel in Luke 1:38 reveal about her relationship with God? The angel had said in verse 37 that “nothing was impossible for God.” Her response? “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.” What do Mary’s response to Gabriel (and Joseph’s to an angel not named) tell us about the kind of people through whom God works?
Think theologically. Mary (and Joseph) had a lot to think about on that unique and special night. Two centuries later, each of us needs to consider the importance of the birth of Jesus, along with his subsequent death, resurrection, and promise to return. One place to start: God came to live with us (Immanuel) so we that we could live with Him (restored hope). Merry Christmas.
Love is a verb,
©2017 by Mike Olejarz