Second Sunday of Advent: Glorious Story Humble Beginnings
It’s easy for us to get so wrapped up in the business of life that Christmas Day comes and goes without much time for reflection and worship. This is what makes the Advent season so powerful.
Advent means “coming” or “arrival”. The advent of Jesus has so many facets and profound implications for our lives that the church serves its body well by slowing Christmas down. Christmas is best served as a five-course meal in the company of dear family rather than driving through Hot’n Now.
During the four weeks before Christmas Day, we turn our attention to various biblical figures of the Christmas story. Last week we took a look at John the Baptist and identified ways we can “prepare the way of the Lord”. Today, we turn our attention to Mary, Jesus’ mother.
Mary. A young, insignificant girl. During her betrothal, she is greeted by an angel with incredibly terrifying news. She would conceive within her young, virgin body a son. His name will be Jesus and he will be called the Son of the Most High. God will give to him the throne of his father David and he will reign forever. Of Mary’s son’s kingdom, there will be no end.
Scholars estimate that Mary was somewhere between 12 and 16 years old at the time she received the news of this unexpected pregnancy. We weren’t there and we don’t know exactly what was going through Mary’s heart when she heard this. But let’s put ourselves in her shoes. How would you feel if you had been given this message?
“I’m going to have a baby?”
“What will Joseph think?”
“What will my parents think?”
“Will anyone believe me?”
“What about my plans?”
“I didn’t sign up for this, God!”
How does Mary respond? “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” What a beautiful statement of identity, peace and trust. There are many things to be learned from Mary’s story. I’d like to highlight two of them.
First, humble, “insignificant” servants are often at the center of God’s glorious stories. Since Genesis 3, the whole of creation had been groaning and yearning for deliverance and restoration. Generation after generation aware of their sin and separation from a holy and mighty God. How would the Creator, the powerful promise keeper, rescue His beloved bride? By what means would God send the Savior of the world? Surely the scene would be impressive. A royal family from a mighty empire? Or maybe this deliverer would just descend from heaven with chariots and fire. No. God chose a young girl from Nazareth, a town of little impression. During this advent season, let us set aside anything that encourages pride and self-significance. Let us join Mary in seeing ourselves as mere “servants of the Lord.”
Second, humble, “insignificant” servants respond to God’s voice with trust and worship. We see her trust clearly in Luke 1:45, “Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” When she heard God’s voice, she believed that it was true and would His promises would be fulfilled. We see her worship in her song, patterned after Psalms of Thanksgiving. Let us respond to the voice of God today with hearts full of trust and worship.
“He who is mighty has done great things for me and holy is His name!” -Part of Mary’s song as recorded in Luke 1:49