Day Three - Tuesday 29th November 2011
"You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus"
Look for a moment at this image of the annunciation. Mary is most certainly taken aback, she looks knocked off balance and in a state of shock. This is a rare image of Mary when she was visited by the Angel, most of the art shows her calm and bowed in reverence.
Today we look at the crux of Mary's calling; she will be the mother of a son.
Of course that doesn't sound particularly special, especially in today's society.
But let's go back 2000 years. Mary is unmarried, a girl from a good home, betrothed to a man she will soon marry. She is a virgin, she has kept herself clean and she knows she can not be with child.
Her emotions must have been a plenty.
Worry about whether she understand right.
Fear about how her family and Joseph will react.
Concern over the reaction of society, who normally shun unmarried mothers.
Add to that the pure and simple unbelievability that she is carrying a boy child which is impossible, and she must have been close to fainting.
And why this specific name?
Would Mary have seen the link to the prophecies of her race?
Would she have started to put two and two together?
I am sure she was a faithful servant of God and knew her scripture well, but when put in a shocking situation do any of us manage join dots successfully?
Let's return to our scenario.
Are you on your knees yet? I'm stuck, dumb-struck in my chair.
I know some of the impossibility she would have felt. I felt it when I came to realise that I was called into ministry. And I had none of the worries about family and societal condemnation. Imagine how Mary would have felt being told she was to have a child out of wedlock, poor Mary, she must have been scared witless.
Prayer for the day
Father as Mary would have felt fear of her family's response to such amazing news, so we worry about what society thinks of our faith. By following you we turn away from many societal norms and try to live the life you wish for us. Give us strength in the face of our uncertainty and fear and judgement of others, as you gave Mary as she faced her family with such impossible and threatening good news. Amen