Luke 1:26-38

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 whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.

The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”

The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her. Luke 1:26-38

The story just never gets old. It is always surprising. Even shocking. In every age, in every culture, no one would see this one coming.

The old barren woman suddenly gets pregnant with an important child due to God’s intervention” is as common in the Bible as “boy meets girl, girl not impressed, boy rescues girl from danger, girl comes around, they live happily ever after” is to a Hollywood plot line. Elizabeth plays that part just fine with the birth of John. But Mary?

A promised but not yet married young girl gets pregnant? That is and always will be (very common) very scandalous. Shameful. Impolite. Not the sort of thing you talk about. Exactly the sort of thing that parents (especially Dad’s with daughters) worry about. I get that. I was born under those circumstances.

And THIS is the way that God chooses to come into the world?

Today’s news tells us about so-called “honor killings” that are still very common in some parts of the world. Women, still considered property, second class citizens, little more than tools or property, live in fear of their own extended families. Stories of young girls killed because they looked at the wrong person the wrong way. Caught in the cross fire of male jealousy and territorial testosterone. Mary knew the rules. She knew the consequences. So did Joseph.

But Matthew tells us that Joseph hung in there. He took her as his own and welcomed their child.

Luke tells us that Mary surrendered to the news without a fight. I am yours, God, willing to do whatever you need me to do.

It is, and always will be, an amazing story.

The first life that Jesus saved was his mother’s.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, give us just a portion of Mary’s willingness to follow and we might yet become the people you have called us to be. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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