Our readings today are Isiah 7:14 & Luke 1:26-38
In Isaiah we have this one familiar verse foretelling the birth of Emmanuel meaning God with us.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel
It’s clear that Jesus’ birth and conception were to be different, supernatural. I wonder how Isaiah and all who followed asked the question “How can this be, a virgin giving birth? this does not happen”
In the gospel reading Mary is confronted with the angel Gabriel. She is troubled by this visitation and the pronouncement that she is favoured by God and that He is with her. Who wouldn’t be!
She then would be even more stunned to hear that she will become pregnant. She is perplexed and protests this as she truthfully exclaims she has never been with a man. She is a virgin, so how can this be?
I think our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters recognise the specialness of her conception when they refer to the “virgin Mary “.
Mary obviously is a devout woman (maybe only 15) trusting in the Lord God. In v37 she calls herself the Lords servant. The angel then leaves her. I wonder what Mary thought about in the days and weeks that followed this remarkable revelation.
She is currently betrothed or pledged to be married to Joseph. Recently I spent some time with a Syrian Islamic family. The husband gave me something of an insight into being pledged to be married in a middle eastern culture.He only knew his wife to be, very fleetingly. It had all been arranged by the two families.
Can you imagine the fear Mary might have as she has to explain to Joseph, their two families and the greater community of Nazareth that she is pregnant. No one more than Joseph knows he’s not the father!Fortunately Mary did not have say something like ” Oh yeah Joseph I’m pregnant, but it’s totally amazing, an angel told me I would conceive this special child by the power of the Holy Spirit and he is the Son of God”
I think Joseph might have been a bit skeptical and had some difficulty with that. Joseph is a righteous man and he wanted to divorce her quietly and not expose her to public disgrace.
Joseph also received a special revelation about these events.Imagine the baby bump she had at the wedding and the gossip that would have gone around Nazareth!
I think Joseph is a bit of a special guy too. Although married to Mary he waited until Jesus was born until he consummated their marriage in sexual union.
So a special boy conceived in a special way from a very special father to a special mum to do a very special thing……
To live and die for all humanity
Indeed God with us! Bless you FDRs this Christmas