Fourth Week of Advent
‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary, ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ Luke 1:38
Are you prepared?
We are coming close to the approaching Feast of Joy – celebrating the birth of the Lord Jesus at Christmas.
We may be getting our homes prepared with the cards, presents and gathering our shopping to help us celebrate with family and friends, but are our hearts prepared?
Have we been able to spend time alone with the Lord over the past three weeks of Advent and really ponder His Majesty, His Power, and His tender, merciful Love?
In our Gospel reading this week, Mary did not know that the angel Gabriel would come to visit her to ask her to become the Mother of Jesus but because her faith in God was strong and she spent time alone quietly reflecting on what her life’s purpose might be – her heart was prepared and she said her ‘yes’ to God. Her ‘yes’ to God would carry her through the dark times of her pregnancy with the infant Christ growing and developing in her spotless womb.
It would strengthen her when the tears flowed as misunderstanding and rejection initially by Joseph, (until his dream from the Lord telling him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife for she was with child by the power of the Holy Spirit) as well as her own people and the friends and neighbours she grew up with who had judged her once they discovered she was unmarried and pregnant. It would embolden her as Joseph died when Jesus was a teenager, and would keep her going through the thirty years which Jesus spent with her in humility and obscurity as He laboured in Nazareth as a simple carpenter.
Its greatest test would come through the three years of Jesus’s public ministry where He would be misunderstood, rejected and opposed, to when on Calvary, as Mary stood strong and trusting in God’s plan of salvation watching Jesus suffer the agony of the Cross as He died the death of a common criminal, crucified and cast out of the city. Her trust and faith in God stood firm and came to fruition when three days later Jesus was raised to life again, bringing with Him the promise of eternal redemption and restored relationship with the Father.