It was my honor to be asked to write a short devotional for my church’s Advent devotional booklet again this year. The theme for 2022 is “A Child is Born.” The focus is the miraculous births of the Bible, and our pastor wanted us to share our own birth stories and how God revealed himself in those experiences.
My first reaction was to email them back and make sure they sent the email to the right place. I’m not a mother. Sure I’ve been there for some friends when they gave birth, but I don’t have a birth story. I couldn’t begin to offer insight into something like that. Turns out the pastor asked for me specifically to write one again this year. So, I sat down at my computer and tried to figure out what on earth I was going to say.
The lyrics for one of my favorite Christmas songs started playing in my head. “Breath of Heaven” gives the lead up to Christ’s birth from Mary’s point of view. I never stopped to think about what it would have been like for her to be called to such an important mission until I heard this song for the first time. It was with that song ringing in my ear that I pulled out my Bible and began to write.
Becoming a mother is never easy. Stress, pain, and worry builds to a single moment in time when they hold their child in their arms for the first time. While no two women trod the same path, the unconditional love of a mother for her child is universal.
I’ve often found myself wondering about Mary’s experience. Here is this young woman, most likely a teenager, being told that she will give birth to the most important figure to ever walk the earth. Can you imagine what it must have been like?
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.
I picture her trembling in fear at the news. The archangel Gabriel tells her not to be afraid, but it’s hard to imagine that a single sentence dissuaded all her fears. She even questions this call on her life.
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
Mary faced far more than the general anxieties of becoming a parent. She faced backlash from not just her family but her entire community. She risked being ostracized and alone, unable to provide for the child that was dependent on her. But through all that, she found the courage to accept her calling.
“I am the Lord’s Servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”
I’m thankful she did. The courage of one young woman helped to bring forth the most precious gift the world would ever know. Jesus. May each of us find the courage to answer the call God places on our lives.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”
Luke 1: 10-11