2023 Advent Devotional - Luke 1:30-33 (Day 17)

Luke 1:30-33 “And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 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 father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

God knows we have fears!  Why else would he have his angel repeatedly say “fear not” or “do not be afraid”.  He knows and wants to calm our fears! In yesterday’s reading (Luke 1:29), we learn that Mary was “troubled” when the angel greeted her as “O favored one”.  So what is this trouble and fear about?  

Mary is a young woman (likely a teenager) in a small village.  Women did not have a place of position in this society.  So why would the God of all creation bring a message via an angel to Mary?  On first reading you would think that when the angel speaks that “God will give him the throne of his father David”, and “he will reign…forever” that Mary would be excited, but knowing how the current Roman government operated this may have been of little comfort to young Mary.

How about the news “you will conceive in your womb and bear a son”?  There has to be excitement for Mary hearing that she is going to conceive and deliver God’s son but angst being unwed and “just” a girl from the small town of Nazareth. I can imagine the mixed emotions going through her.  I can imagine the immense excitement Mary felt knowing that she was with child and not only any child but God’s child, but also the fear and reservation she felt as she faced Joseph, her betrothed, her parents, and her community as an unwed mother.

I am not sure if this is a coincidence or a God thing (okay, I believe there are very few coincidences).  A week ago we had a water leak in our storage room.  I had cards, letters, scrapbooks, etc that were precious to me stored in a box in that room.  I quickly pulled the box out from the “flood” and emptied the contents out to dry.  This week as I was wrestling with today’s scripture and cleaning up from the water leak, I came across 2 things that I had long forgotten.  The first was a journal.  It had just 1 entry.  In the entry I describe in detail the excitement that I felt when I discovered that I was pregnant for the first time.  We had been trying for a baby for a couple of years.  We were married, had stable jobs, a house, and we were ready! The entry goes on to tell how I told my husband, parents, and even our grandparents and the joy that we all felt.  This is how it should be, right?  I mentioned that there was only 1 entry in this journal, that was because I lost that baby early in my pregnancy and the one after that.  

The second thing I found in the box was a pregnancy diary.  The diary had a place to write a couple quick notes each day of the pregnancy and then it gives some little tips or tidbits each day that you can read.  As I began flipping through this journal, I noticed that day after day, and week after week for the first 3 months, I wrote nothing but the date.  Then after 3 months there is a note that we finally shared the news with our friends and family.  The excitement of this pregnancy was muted by the fear of our previous losses.  Just like I imagine with Mary, I had many mixed emotions. Yes there were many days of hope and excitement in the first 3 months but nothing compared to the excitement of that first pregnancy (until the birth of my daughters). This pregnancy was a daily reliance on God and remembering “do not be afraid”.

Just like God through the angel told Mary “do not be afraid” he also tells us this.  He sent His son to reign forever including overcoming the grave so that we can live without fear and with the hope of the resurrection.  Just as Mary accepted the gift of God using her to bring Jesus into the world, let us all accept the gift of peace and comfort that God offers us through His son Jesus.
-By Tammy Wiese
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