And when God was ready, an angel flew down
To a young girl named Mary, in Nazareth’s town.
But she’d never seen angel, or fairy, or elf,
And she gasped when she saw him, in spite of herself.
The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary. God is very pleased with you. You will become pregnant and give birth to a Son. You must call Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God. The Lord God will make Him a King like His father David of long ago.” — Luke 1:30-32
The warm scent of freshly baked bread filled the little home in Nazareth. As Mary lifted the loaves from the oven and set them aside to cool, a different scent seemed to fill the air. It was as if someone had opened the door and stepped into the room. Mary turned around and gasped in surprise. An angel was hovering, right there — right in front of her. Mary shook her head and closed her eyes. But even with her eyes shut tight, she could hear the angel softly whispering her name.
“Mary, Mary. Don’t be afraid. God is with you.”
Mary slowly opened her eyes and tried to make sense out of what she was seeing and hearing. The angel was bathed in soft, silvery light and its wide wings were shimmering in the early evening shadows.
“Who are you?” Mary whispered. “And why are you here?”
“I’m Gabriel,” the angel answered. “And God has sent me with a special message for you. You will have a child, Mary — a Son. You are to give Him the name Jesus. He will be God’s own Son. And He will be a King.”
Mary shook her head in disbelief.
“How can that possibly be? I’m not even married yet, and I’m so young!”
“Nothing is impossible with God,” Gabriel said softly. “Even Elizabeth, your relative, is going to have a baby. And everyone said she was too old. Don’t worry. God will work everything out. For now, you just need to say yes.”
Mary’s heart skipped a beat. She could feel God’s Holy Spirit dancing in the room and shining in the shadows. She looked at the angel and nodded slowly. As Gabriel faded away and flew back to Heaven, Mary sank to her knees in prayer.
“I’m here, God.” she whispered. “I’ll do as you say. I’ll be the momma of your Son. My answer is… yes.”
Dear God, thank You for Mary who was so brave and trusted You. When I need to be brave, help me remember that You are with me.
What the angel told Mary — how could it be true?
That she’d be a momma? Elizabeth too?
She would go to her cousin, she’d leave straight away,
And see what Elizabeth might have to say.
One day Zechariah… was serving as a priest in God’s temple… Then an angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah. The angel was standing at the right side of the incense altar. When Zechariah saw him, he was amazed and terrified. But the angel said to him,
Do not be afraid, Zechariah. Your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will have a child. It will be a boy, and you must call him John.” — Luke 1:8-13
Elizabeth lay in her bed in the darkness and stared up at the stars outside her window. Zechariah, her husband, lay fast asleep at her side. She could hear his gentle snores. But Elizabeth couldn’t sleep. She lay awake, full of wonder and joy, thinking about the day when she would hold her baby in her arms.
Smiling in the darkness, she put her hand on her tummy, and prayed for this child, this miracle, growing inside her. “Thank you, God,” she whispered, “that I will be a momma.”
It had been several months now since an angel had visited Zechariah while he was on duty in the temple and told him the unbelievable news — Elizabeth would have a baby. It was something they had prayed and prayed about for years. But who would have ever thought that they could have a baby now, when they were so old? But it was true! Elizabeth could feel the baby in her tummy as he kicked his legs. “We’ll meet you soon, John,” Elizabeth whispered.
As she closed her eyes, Elizabeth thought, for the hundredth time, about what the angel had told her husband… how her boy would be a joy and a delight, not just to her and Zechariah, but to many, many people.
The angel had said that her son would be filled with the Holy Spirit and have a special mission in life. His job would be to get people ready to meet the Lord and to prepare their hearts for Him.
Elizabeth didn’t really know what all that meant, but it sounded like the Lord, the Messiah, the special one from God, was also going to be born soon.
As Elizabeth drifted off to sleep that night, she couldn’t help wondering who the momma of the Messiah might be. Little did Elizabeth know that she was about to find out…
Excerpted with permission from Twas the Season of Advent by Glenys Nellist, copyright Glenys Nellist.
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Mary was so brave! She said yes straight from the heart even when it didn’t make any sense and she couldn’t understand what was ahead of her. Lord, give us that kind of bravery… ~ Devotionals Daily