Its 9 months ’til Christmas today!
Which traditionally anglicans call the annunciation…. For me this feels pretty apt during Lent, as I think that the message of Christ’s Birth and the message of Christ’s birth we too often separate, but actually they were all part of God’s awesome rescue plan for his creation.
If you have seen the film the passion of the Christ, the most moving it for me, was watching Mary watching Jesus stumble with his cross and it flashed back to him falling over as a child and she went and picked him up…
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, 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 favoured! 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 favour with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him 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 Jacob’s descendants for ever; 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 on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[b] 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 unable to conceive is in her sixth month.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.
A few thoughts stuck me… Firstly the whole bit at the end about nothing being impossible for God, also the barren relative becoming pregnant and God bringing life miraculously as both great missional pictures.
I love Mary’s willingness to say “YES” to God (contrasted later by Zachariah a priest in the holy of holies who is sceptical about God’s ability to work miraculously)…
Which are we, Mary’s of Zachariah’s?
Sometimes if I am honest I creep a little close to being like Zachariah and need to keep reminding myself that “nothing is impossible with God”.
Yet sometimes it is hard to hang onto God’s faithfulness in times of tragedy, pain, confusion. When the angel promises Mary about Jesus’ greatness, with his great throne and unending Kingdom, must have been hard to believe when he was on the cross.
I am reminded of Tony Campolo (who is very cool) who said: “It might be Friday… but Sundays a-coming!”
Often in our lives we live on Friday or Saturday but awaiting to see God’s promises fulfilled -waiting for Sunday- even when it feels tough at the time.
So, what of us, do we say yes to God?
Do we hang on to see his faithfulness break through.