Psalm of Praise: Psalms 136:1,4
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever.
To him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever.
Bible Reading: Luke 1:26-27,30-32,38-40
In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph.
The virgin's name was Mary…
The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God.
You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High…
"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May your word to me be fulfilled."
Then the angel left her.
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea,
where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth.
‘At that time Mary got ready.’
One small phrase to cover such an enormous and unexpected change in the life of a young girl.
Advent is a time when the Church thinks about getting ready, not just for Christmas when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, but also for his return, the second coming of Jesus.
As I reflect on the events around Gabriel’s visit to Mary, it seems to me that there are two types of getting ready. There is the getting ready for the unexpected and getting ready for the expected.
Mary, it seems, was ready for the unexpected. When faced with the outrageous, life-changing events outlined by Gabriel, her response was simply, ‘I am the Lord’s servant.’ From these words Mary reveals a heart-attitude to God that acknowledges that he is Lord and that she is his servant. With this understanding Mary is ready to trust God for the unexpected, for whatever events in life that might overtake her.
Life doesn’t always go as planned. I wonder how ready my heart is to trust God when the unexpected happens.
But Mary also got ready for the expected. We are told that, ‘At that time Mary got ready’. We know very little about what ‘getting ready’ entailed for Mary in the ensuing nine months, other than that she went to visit her pregnant cousin Elizabeth. Two women expecting the unexpected. With Elizabeth, Mary would find guidance and encouragement, she would find time and space to adjust to forthcoming changes in her life and maybe also a haven from the wagging tongues in Nazareth.
Not all expected events have a definite time frame, like pregnancy, some are expected but are unpredictable, like death or the return of Christ. I wonder how I might get ready for the expected.
Heavenly Father, give me the faith to trust you for all that happens in my life, help me to prepare my heart for the expected and for the unexpected.
The Lord’s my shepherd – and I will trust.