The birth of a child is a very special time. The birth of a second son last week to a young couple we know has brought great joy to the whole family. More than 2000 years ago a young engaged couple living in the little Galilean village of Nazareth had to come to terms with the fact that the young woman, Mary, was expecting a child. This was no ordinary child.
The angel Gabriel had visited Mary and told her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David and his kingdom will never end.”
Mary replied, “How can this be since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” Mary humbly replied “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”
Mary is a great example to us of what it means to humbly trust God and his purposes for our life. She had been chosen for special privilege but this brought inevitable misunderstanding as people became aware that she was pregnant. They assumed, as, at first, did her fiancé Joseph, that she was guilty of immorality. Her reputation was tarnished. In order to protect her and the child Joseph married her, as he had intended to do.
The birth of Jesus was extraordinary. God broke into history. “He came down to earth from heaven who is God and Lord of all.” In Jesus, his Son, God intervened to give us new hope and purpose. So, too, God breaks into individual lives as he opens our eyes to see our need to know him so that we put our trust in Jesus. Steve has just become a Christian. Christmas has taken on a whole new meaning for him. He told me, “The things which used to mean so much to me don’t really matter anymore. The main thing for me now is that God loves me and sent his Son, Jesus, to be my Saviour.”