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Advent 2014: Mary

Meg Chaney

Hello everyone! Today I'm grouping together Advent days 4, 5, 6 & 7 since it will carry us through the weekend. I've also been a day behind all week (writing about our Advent evening from the day before). This post will give me a chance to catch up. Feel free to share any thoughts, pondering from these verses. I'd love to hear your perspective as well. 

The birth of Jesus Christ cam about this way: After His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit.
— Matthew 1:18, HCSB

When we looked at this verse with Emma last night, we kept it brief. At four, she can really only take so much in. Much of this wording goes over her head, but we're trying to teach her the simple truths, showing her the beautiful story of Christ's birth. With her, we just told her what a miraculous happening took place. Mary was going to have the Son of God, a pretty amazing thing. 

As I look at these words today, I can't help but ponder what that would have been like for Mary, as a mother. To feel the Christ-child move within her womb, the flutters, the swift rib kicks, the hiccups. I'm sure it wasn't easy, trying to explain how this child came to be. Her family and friends probably thought she was either crazy or lying. But she knew. She knew that completely miraculous thing that happened to her. Those 9 months of carrying that precious child must have been so wondrous. Feeling Him each day inside of her, knowing that He would come into the world soon and she would hold the Messiah in her arms. The rushing feelings must have been intense, of frustration, isolation, loneliness, but also love, wonderment, and anticipation. Something truly amazing had happened in Mary's life, and it was about to change everything. 

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came to her and said, ‘Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you.’
— Luke 1:26-28

I'm sure Emma will be excited to hear about the angel in this reading! We'll probably spend a few minutes talking about who angels are. They're special beings, created to worship God, fight for Him and carry special messages here to earth. They're also far different in appearance then the little chubby cherubs that people often draw.They would be scary and spectacular to see. A visit from an angel is no small thing.  It meant that words straight from God where going to be spoken into Mary's heart. While she was fearful, the angel was there to tell her that she was favored, she was loved by God, and something really important was about to happen in her life.

But she was deeply troubled by this statement, wondering what kind of greeting this could be. Then the angel told her: Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Now listen: You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will call His name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.
— Luke 1:29-33, HCSB

And then, the plan is explained. The angel talks to Mary, and tells her that she will have a baby son, one that has come to save the world from their sins. Imagine that! A simple, sweet girl with a heart for God, would conceive and bear the Christ-child. Pretty amazing, isn't it? She held the Son of God near her heart. A treasured thing, to be sure.

Mary asked the angel, ‘How can this be, since I have not been intimate with a man?’ The Angel replied to her: ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.
— Luke 1:34-35

Friends, that is amazing! Jesus Christ came about in no ordinary way. Mary was understandably confused what the Angel told her she would conceive. She understood just how biologically impossible that would be. But God had something amazing in store! Our devotion with Emma will probably focus mostly on that. It was amazing, unnatural, something that could only be from God.

This whole advent season is such an exciting time. My daughter is busy practicing for her preschool Christmas pagent, and working on Christmas wish lists for Santa. Even my days are largely consumed with getting the house in order for our Christmas party this weekend, and searching out the perfect gift for loved ones. I love the joy and business of this time of year, but I definitely don't want my family to miss out on what really matters. Our Advent Calendar time only takes a couple minutes each evening. I'm often not sure my daughter takes all that much of it in. But I love going through this verses with her, letting the words sink into her little heart, and reminding myself as well. This story is such a beautiful one. It's exciting, wondrous, and worth repeating. And so, as we read these Advent verses each evening, I basically hammer home the same point. "The story of Christ's birth is beautiful, miraculous, amazing. And I'm so thankful."