The young woman had a huge problem. She was dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. In her culture, at that time, this was the height of shame. She was betrothed to be married. Everyone would assume the worst. They would assume she had been unfaithful. Not only that, she was poor. If her husband-to-be ended the betrothal, she would not only be ashamed and an outcast, but also poverty stricken.
The young woman had a huge blessing. She had been visited by an angel who had told her that this child was from God and that she would be the mother of the Messiah.
She had a choice. She could look at her problem or she could heed the voice of God.
The young woman, of course, was Mary – or, more properly, MIriam – the mother of Yeshua (Jesus). Shortly after this angelic announcement, during a visit to her cousin Elizabeth, who was also expecting a child in her old age, Mary burst forth in song. She chose to focus not on her potential troubles but on the promise of God.
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is His name.”
As things turned out, her husband-to-be stood by her. He too had a huge problem – what to do about this unplanned pregnancy. But he too received a huge blessing – a visit from another angel, who disclosed the identity of this child that his betrothed was carrying, and gave him the courage to proceed with the marriage.
Their life would not always be easy. The challenges were multiple and ongoing. They had many occasions to fear. Yet through it all, they chose to focus on the promise of God. And His promise to them was not in vain. They, and their son, did suffer much. But He also gave to many a foretaste of the coming Messianic Kingdom, and by embracing the way of the Cross He opened up the gates of life for all who would enter.
As we pray for our city and its people, let us set our hearts on the promise of God. Many are the problems, difficulties and griefs that assail us – and our neighbours – in these days. But we are a people of Advent hope. We know the King is coming. We have the deposit of His Spirit in our hearts, assuring us of a coming inheritance. Let us fix our eyes on the eternal things, that the Lord may continually renew our hope even in days of trouble. And let us pray for our neighbours, that even in the midst of fearful and vexing times, some of them may have their eyes opened to see the King in his beauty.