A Nine-Month Wait
Luke 1:26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him 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 ancestor David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 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. 36 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. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 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.
This really is one of those impossible stories of history. A young girl, probably a teenager, is visited by an angel who tells her that she will be pregnant without having had sex. I think that the author of this Gospel passage does a nice job of writing this section but I don’t think that it begins to evoke the emotions that Mary would have been experiencing. For her to be pregnant outside of marriage had dire consequences and yet this angel is telling her not to be afraid. Without the use of a sonogram, nor a great reveal party, the angel tells her that it will be a boy. Then, the angel explains all that this baby will do and one can only that this was beyond Mary's imagination.
We do get the one expression of Mary’s concern which seems to come from being dumbfounded! “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The explanation seems beyond comprehension and then she learns that Elizabeth is expecting as well. Both of these miraculous cases of pregnancy are explained by, “nothing will be impossible with God.”
Somehow I think there was a bit of time between that declaration by the angel and Mary’s response, however, we are brought to a place of seeing Mary’s giant leap of faith. This is simply the announcement that she will have a child, but in nine months it will become a reality. Between now and then she has much to ponder and a giant journey of faith.
Today we celebrate the “annunciation of the Lord.” Nine months from now we will be celebrating Christmas and the birth of our Lord. It’s hard to imagine what this entire experience must have been like for a young girl like Mary. She had to have been a person of great faith to accept this burden on her life. This was a giant leap of faith into an unknown that would change the world. Even as the angel was speaking about a kingdom with no end, Mary must have wondered what all that would mean.
There are many emotions that a new young family experiences in the nine months leading up to the birth of a child. Christmas seems like a long way away and yet it would come soon enough. In our spiritual lives God is continually leading us to new depths and/or higher heights spiritually. There are times when something new will be conceived within us that may not be brought to fruition for months or even years. At the same time we are to live in faith like Mary.
We are on this journey for the long-haul, not for immediate returns. This means that we hold onto the promises of God and we live in faith day after day. We continue on in prayer, never giving up on those who may be straying from the faith! We love those who may seem unloveable. We stop setting up preconditions and we shower others with the love of God. We invest in God’s work for God’s glory and not ours.
Mary had to wait nine months to give birth to the baby who had been promised by the angel. Her life would never be the same but she had incredible faith. No matter what God may be asking us to do we also need to step out on faith. It may be a nine-month wait, just a few weeks, or years and years. Trust God and believe “nothing will be impossible with God.”
Lord, thank you for your promises. Please give me patience and faith for the long-haul. Amen.