Summary: Today we are continuing our series on fear at Christmas time. In the Christmas story in Matthew and Luke, there are 4 times when people are told specifically not to be afraid. Last week we looked at Zechariah, and this week we are looking at Mary.
MARY-DID YOU KNOW?
26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.
38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
Today we are continuing our series on fear at Christmas time. In the Christmas story in Matthew and Luke, there are 4 times when people are told specifically not to be afraid. Last week we looked at Zechariah, and this week we are looking at Mary. Let’s read the story from Luke 1:26-38.
Now, you can see that Mary’s 1st response to the angel showing up was subdued. I mean, last week we saw how Zechariah, an old man, was terrified of the heavenly messenger. But Mary, a young teenage girl, wasn’t terrified. She seemed more questioning of the angel’s appearance than scared by it.
The angel shared good news with Mary. He said she was highly favored, that God had chosen her to be part of His wonderful plans. The angel said that the Lord was with her. Now, this is important. Mary most certainly needed to know that the Lord was with her. She needed to know that what was going to happen was part of God’s plans.
This is why Gabriel told Mary not to be afraid. Mary’s life was about to be turned upside-down forever. And that’s never an easy thing to handle.
Generally, change is hard. Positive changes we generally welcome. A better job, a new relationship, an improvement of some kind in our lives. But even then, a change comes with certain difficulties. Getting used to the new things takes time. Getting married is wonderful, but then you have to give up half the bed. It’s a welcome change, but it’s still a change that takes some getting-used-to.
Now, picture Mary’s changes. She was engaged to a good man, Joseph. They were going to be married. Back then, an engagement was practically as binding as a marriage. To end an engagement was the same as divorce.
So then the angel showed up and told her she was going to have a baby. That would be stunning enough. Let’s pause there for a moment. If girls got married as teenagers back then, and she’s pregnant out of wedlock, too. Nowadays, it’s shameful. Back then it was disgraceful. Nowadays it’s sad. Back then it was considered sinful.
Mary was entering a whole new world by becoming pregnant. That was a change that she seemed to embrace well, but the angel still told her not to be afraid over it. Mary’s plans for her life and for her family were changed forever by the announcement that she would have a baby.
As if that weren’t enough. As if hearing the news that you were going to have a baby isn’t life-changing enough. Throw in the fact that it was impossible for her. She was a virgin. She had never been with a man. Now, that’s even more of a shock. There’s the shock that she was having a baby out of wedlock, but there’s the shock of being impossibly pregnant.
On top of it all, we must not forget the main point of the story: the shock of being pregnant with the Son of God. That’s what this is about. This is about Jesus coming to earth. You see, Mary’s plans weren’t being changed just for the sake of change. It wasn’t some whim or flight of fancy. Mary’s plans were being changed because it was for the greater good. It was for everybody’s good. Even if the changes were not going to be 100% pleasant, they were certainly good.