Some six months or more after speaking to Zechariah the angel Gabriel was sent to Mary with an even more startling and significant message. Not only was she to have a child, and that without any human intervention, but the child was to be ‘the Son of God’ and the eternal King. After centuries of silence God’s chosen time had arrived, and the long awaited Messiah was about to enter the world and change history forever.
Mary’s response is tellingly different to that of Zachariah for she does not ask how she can be sure of the angel’s message. Instead she shows her acceptance of it by merely asking how it will happen ‘since I am a virgin.’ A young girl trusts where an old priest questions – but both still see the Lord at work and His word fulfilled.
All of this – these two angelic appearances, and the momentous events that they disclosed – happened quietly in a small corner of creation. Hardly anyone knew about them, and it would be years before their significance began to become apparent. Yet God was at work in a vital and life-changing way. He had not given up on His people or on His creation. He was about to disclose the mind-shaking extent of His love and power.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Christmas – without it there would be no salvation, only darkness and despair. We have something to celebrate.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the simple faith and response of Mary. Please help us to celebrate Your great love and provision this Christmas, and to hold on to Your love through all the times that lie ahead. Amen.