Focal Passage: Luke 1:26-35
TIME ran an article in 2011 entitled, “Miracles in Japan.” It described how, as a devastating earthquake and tsunami ravaged Japan, a four-month old baby was literally swept away from her parents’ arms. Three days later Japanese soldiers were filtering through the rubble when they heard a cry. Removing the piles of debris, wood, shattered glass and rock, they found her. Not only was the miracle baby alive, dressed in her pink woolen bear suit, she was returned home safely to her family.
Miracles happen every day all over the globe, but not every miracle grabs our attention. One of the greatest miracles is human childbirth. Some of those, though, are more miraculous than others. In the Bible one can read about the unexpected and miraculous births of Isaac, Samuel and John. The miracle of birth for supposedly barren mothers brought great joy to those families. But without doubt, the greatest birth of all time is the birth of Jesus Christ.
Mary was a virgin. Her marriage was properly arranged, with full disclosure and consent. We are told Mary was a young woman who loved God passionately and was completely committed to obeying Him. Among the millions of women alive at that time, God chose Mary to be the biological mother of His Son. God had “favored” her (vv. 28-29). What a remarkable honor!
Mary’s response to the angel’s announcement was predictable. She was confused. She questioned God. She knew there had been no sexual relations between herself and her betrothed. She also had other dilemmas to navigate, such as how to communicate her unexpected circumstance to her parents, and to Joseph, and his parents, and to their friends.
She probably feared their rejection. What Mary accepted, however, was that the pregnancy and subsequent birth was far bigger than her. It was a birth like no other because the implanted seed of life came from God Himself. The baby Jesus was fully human, and yes, fully divine – a miracle indeed.