Saturday, December 22, 2007

Advent Week 4: Joy

This Sunday we light the pink candle. This candle represents joy. Imagine the joy of becoming a mother. Sometimes pregnancy comes at the wrong time. The parents are ill equipped to face the responsibility. Some times it is a mistake that has brought this baby into existence. And on one particular time a mysterious pregnancy did happen that is not easily explained. It was not planned and it was not an accident.

Luke 1:26

God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, [27] to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. [28] The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."

[29] Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. [30] But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. [31] You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. [32] 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, [33] and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

[34] "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"

[35] The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon 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. [36] Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. [37] For nothing is impossible with God."

Eastern Orthodox tradition calls Mary, Theotokos, which simply means that Mary was a Godbearer. She literally brought God into the world through the birth of Jesus.

In this section of Luke, we read that the angel Gabriel, a messenger from God, has been sent to Mary. Mary is a teenager of maybe 14 or 15, and a virgin. Mary has integrity, she is uncompromised by the world. She hasn’t fallen into the worldly trappings and temptations.

Think about this: God has just asked a teenager to bring salvation into the world

One theologian said this:

Mary struck the angel Gabriel as hardly old enough to have a child at all, let alone this child, but he had been entrusted with a message to give her, and he gave it.

He told her what the child was to be named, and who he was to be, and something about the mystery that was to come upon her. “You mustn’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel said.

As Gabriel said it, he only hoped she wouldn’t notice that beneath the great, golden wings he himself was trembling with fear to think that the whole future of creation hung now on the answer of a girl.

Did you also notice that God did not force the situation? Mary had the opportunity to say no. Maybe Gabriel stopped at the homes of other girls before stopping at Mary’s. What sets Mary apart? She said Yes!

Verse [38] "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.

All of us have the ability to be carriers of God. Although the coming of Jesus in a virgin’s womb is an unrepeatable mystery of God, God invites all of us to be Godbearers. Sometime in our life we need to make a decision to allow Jesus into our hearts. It is here that we can smuggle Jesus into the world through our own lives.

Mary led a great example of how to be a mother. Never do we read about her complaining. She accepted her lot on life. She allowed God to use her and she gave birth to the Savior of the world!

May you experience this Christmas the mystery and the joy of the birth of this precious baby boy.

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