“Mary, have you even started to think about what you need to take?” Joseph might have asked, hesitantly. If the Christmas account were taking place in real time in our western culture, now would be the time to be asking these types of questions. Consider and imagine how a woman who is in the last days of full term pregnancy might respond – not forgetting she’s facing a journey of over 80 miles without reclining seats and air conditioning. Anyone glad that the angel didn’t visit your house with the same proclamation given to the Virgin?
Tradition and history tell us that Mary was a moral young woman when the unexpected visitor to her house brought the unbelievable and miraculous news that Mary was with Child (Luke 1:26-38). After the expected question of “How…” (v. 34) the attention turns toward her announcement to her Aunt Elizabeth, who was also expecting a baby known as John the Baptist. There’s much joy and celebration shared between these two expectant mothers as they journey through pregnancy together.
Have you ever stopped to ponder what Mary did during the hard days? A young unmarried woman in the family way wasn’t condoned or celebrated. Her soon-to-be husband contemplated divorcing her (Matthew 1:19) to protect his good name. It wasn’t Mary’s words of pleading that changed his mind (Matthew 1:20). And imagine the laughs and chuckles when she insisted an angel had appeared and told her this was all designed by God to bring Hope to the world. Mary’s pregnancy wasn’t filled with baby showers and shopping for nursery decor. It seems there were times when Mary had to keep faith in what she knew.
There are a lot of moving parts in the first twenty verses of Luke 2. A verse that has caused me some wonder and meditation is verse nineteen. What was Mary keeping and pondering? “All these things” (Luke 1:19). Is it a stretch to agree that Mary would’ve been replaying all that God had done in the last ten months and now it has come to pass? Mary keeps her faith by reminding herself of God’s promises and provision.
But what about us? We’re receiving an invitation, too. We can use this Advent to help bolster and increase our faith. To say that 2020 wasn’t the year we hoped for is a colossal understatement. But we can’t let the uncomfortable nature of the times change how we view God. We’d do well to remind ourselves of God’s Power and Sovereignty. “Did it ever occur to you that nothing ever occurs to God?” asked the old southern preacher A. Rogers. When life gets extremely complicated, we can take time to ponder what God has done and accomplished. Gather family around the tree this year and reminisce. Tough times can be fertile soil for a growing faith if we remain focused on what God has done on our behalf.