Sunday, November 29, 2009

"Don't be afraid! God is pleased with you, and you will have a son."

Today is the beginning of Advent: The Coming Of the Christ. This season leads up to the universal celebration of Jesus' Birth at Christmas.

Mary was a very young unmarried woman, perhaps even a teenager, when she learned that she was pregnant. In her culture this might be thought of as almost "ruining her life". But: immediately when she discovers she is going to have a baby, she is told that she is blessed and that this particular baby is God's Own Son. She is also told she will get support from her cousin Elizabeth, who is also expecting a miracle baby.

Because she is told that this pregnacy is a good event, she is able to let her natural feelings of joy bubble up with confidence.

When any woman, at any time, or any place, announces that she is pregnant, the first words she should hear, no matter what the situation, are excited congratulations of great joy. Because the baby who is born redeems the circumstances of his conception. Because the life this baby lives will redeem the circumstances into which he is born.

I usually prefer to read and quote from the King James Version of the Bible, but today I am going to post from the "Contemporary English Version" for this particular passage, because this version makes plain exactly what the situation was.

Luke 1:26-38 (Contemporary English Version)

An Angel Tells about the Birth of Jesus

26 One month later God sent the angel Gabriel to the town of Nazareth in Galilee
27 with a message for a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to Joseph from the family of King David.
28 The angel greeted Mary and said, "You are truly blessed! The Lord is with you."
29 Mary was confused by the angel's words and wondered what they meant.

30 Then the angel told Mary, "Don't be afraid! God is pleased with you,
31 and you will have a son. His name will be Jesus.
32 He will be great and will be called the Son of God Most High. The Lord God will make him king, as his ancestor David was.
33 He will rule the people of Israel forever, and his kingdom will never end."

34 Mary asked the angel, "How can this happen? I am not married!"

35 The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come down to you, and God's power will come over you. So your child will be called the holy Son of God.

36 Your relative Elizabeth is also going to have a son, even though she is old. No one thought she could ever have a baby, but in three months she will have a son.
37 Nothing is impossible for God!"

38 Mary said, "I am the Lord's servant! Let it happen as you have said." And the angel left her.

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