Tag Archives: Mary

Growing Larger: A Look at the Annunciation

37 For no word from God will ever fail.”38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

Mary carried God. Jesus became human through Mary and the will of God. Jesus was truly human and truly Divine. Mary, a virgin, was truly human and truly obedient. Mary was the deliverer of God to the world, young inexperienced, yet trusting and faithful.

I see Mary as one who has pledged her virginity in faithfulness to God until her marriage with Joseph. That vow is important to her and of course to her family. Now stunningly she is visited by an angel – Gabriel himself – who tells her that she is to become pregnant via the Holy Spirit before her marriage to Joseph. The Bible does not say that she hesitated; it does say she was greatly troubled. Did her thoughts include: “wait, let me think about all this” or “what will my parents think?”, “what will Joseph say or do?” or “oh yeah! I could be stoned when people see me growing larger before my marriage”! All are thoughts that could have frightened her into a great panic. But Gabriel has already spoken peace to her heart perhaps not just because of the sudden surprise of his visitation, but maybe also to quiet any of these potential thoughts. He has told her he brings “good news for all people”, (Luke 2:10), so how can this be bad for Mary? She is a good Jewish girl awaiting the promised Messiah like her entire village and the whole Jewish world. Now she knows where and when He will come and she knows before anyone else.

She has been honored and blessed by God beyond human understanding. This is the knowledge that removes even the possibility of fear. God will take care of her and her situation and He has already thought of everything. (Just like He does for you and for me).

Luke’s account (1:26-38) also does not say that she wondered who would believe her story. Gabriel took care of that too by telling her about Elizabeth’s surprise and humanly impossible pregnancy. Strange things are happening and Mary knows that Elizabeth will understand, support and guide her. After the announcement by Gabriel, Mary wastes no time getting to Elizabeth.

Mary carried God in the form of a little baby boy that grew to be the One who sacrificed Himself for the sins of the whole world. Mary delivered Jesus to the world. Now He lives within all who accept His Lordship in their lives. How do we carry Him in this world? How do we deliver Him to those we encounter daily? Is it clear to others that Christ’s love is growing larger in our own hearts and lives every day?

As God cared for Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus by keeping them safe from Herod’s sword and from every other possibility of harm, He does the same for us. He loves us and wants us to love Him and each other through whatever crisis life might throw at us.  Those who are martyred for there faith and those who meet tragic deaths on this earth are not abandoned by God.  He is with them before, during and after their transition into the heavenly realm.  He has given us a promise, “Never will I leave you, and never will I forsake you”. Hebrews 13:5. “No word from God will ever fail.” Luke 1: 37. Amen.

Mary and Elizabeth: A lesson in love and nurture

Who do you look up to and aspire to be like?

Who do you run to first when you need a sympathetic ear? Or when you need an understanding heart?

Whose advice do you value enough to go seek it out?

For Mary there was one answer: Elizabeth.

The angel came, Mary consented to let God’s will reign in her life and immediately she needs/wants to talk to Elizabeth. Something people thought was impossible is happening to Elizabeth. Something that defies the imagination is happening to Mary. They need to talk. A woman too old to conceive and carry a child is six months along. A woman almost too young has conceived of the Holy Spirit and is just pregnant. Two ends of the age spectrum separated by time and distance. Yet they are united by the God of their ancestors, of Abraham, Isaac, Joseph and more. There is really much that should separate them, yet what brings them together is more powerful than the unique circumstances which might isolate them. So Mary made the journey.

They not only talked, they sang praises to God! They were in close fellowship for almost three months. I can imagine them chatting over meal preparation, cutting the vegetables, preparing the bread, laughing and talking together making work seem like fun. Walking together to the well, one carries water to drink and the other carries the Water of Life. As the days pass, they walk a little slower, yet still with eager anticipation for the events yet to occur in their lives. It is a holy time of communion and mutual love and understanding not so different from our walk with the significant people in our lives.

The story of Mary and Elizabeth’s time together is a favorite of mine. I see them giving each other a very special gift – the gift of time. They took the time to talk about their common situations, about being pregnant and how that changed their lives. They may have talked about how to cope with those changes, and shared the joys, the concerns and the holy awe. These are things they might not have been comfortable saying to anyone else. Perhaps most important is the fact that Mary needs the nurture of this relationship and this fellowship with Elizabeth to help strengthen and prepare her for what lies ahead. Elizabeth’s home and heart is a safe place for Mary to rest as they enjoy their mutual fellowship and support.

We all have a desire at times to share things with the people we love. Special Joys and happy times are meant to be shared. So are concerns and cares. God places people in our lives for just such times as these;   we really are His gifts to each other. Our Father’s love for us is so great that He gives us what we need even when we don’t know what we need.