By Mary Spence
Advent is the 4 weeks leading up to Christmas in December. During this time, we celebrate the
anticipation of the birth of Jesus. Each week a candle is lit to remind us of the arrival of Christ here
on earth to walk among us.
Hope, Joy, Peace and Love are the 4 weeks
leading up to the final candle, the Christ candle. As I have been thinking about Advent this year, I am
finding that Mary comes to mind frequently. God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in
Galilee,  to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The
virgin’s name was Mary.  The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored!
The Lord is with you.”
A young woman just on the verge of beginning her life as an adult, Mary was engaged to Joseph, soon
to be married. And suddenly an angel appeared to her and revealed she would give birth to the
Messiah.  Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 
But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor 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. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,  and he will
reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” 
My first thought, I'm embarrassed to say would have been, "what will everyone think?" Her parents, her fiancée...
her neighbors and friends. But Mary's response was  “I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me
be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
I Imagine the next few months for Mary are quite difficult. Reading about Joseph's response to the
news of this miracle, I again think about Mary. Watching her betrothed decide how he will
Will he cast her aside in shame? Refuse to marry her based on this claim she makes to be
carrying the Savior? In it all she relies on the word she has from God and depends on Him to make a
way. She is not struggling and striving or defending her honor, but leaning on God and letting his will be
done through it all. I am sure Mary needed no confirmation, however when she travels to visit her
cousin Elizabeth, she is greeted by Elizabeth and her baby John.
 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with
the Holy Spirit.  In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the
child you will bear! This is one of my favorite parts of the story! That John recognized Jesus in the
womb, its just amazing!
From the rest of the story that plays out in Luke she gives birth to the Messiah in a stable. What more
humble beginning could there be? Surrounded by the sounds and smells of the animals, she laid Him
in the manger. It had not been an easy journey, yet here He was, the Savior of the world, a tiny little
Do you see hope.. the ability of Mary to be in these circumstances yet fulfilled God's plan for her to carry
and birth this little one who would save us all from sin.
Can you see the joy, the joy she must have experienced after so many months of struggle to
finally hold that tiny baby with her husband who demonstrated great faith and courage in marrying
and caring for her against what common sense must
have told him..
Peace.. Imagine the muffled sounds of the stable, animals shifting, chewing. The warmth of the
bodies, gathered together. The knowledge that this tiny one was going to save the world.
Love.. . Can you see the love weaved throughout this story from the moment that angel appeared to
the special delivery that quiet night?
My prayer today for us:
Thank you for that gift. The greatest gift of all. A Savior who was delivered in a stable that would walk
among us, live as one of us and eventually die, crucified, to free us from our sin and draw us into
relationship with you. May we have the strength and faith that Mary had as she walked through the
miracle of delivering a Savior. Let us know that you have a plan. That we can rest in the knowledge that
we don't have to know or understand it all. That faith in you is enough to carry us through dark days. That
you will deliver us and through it all we are never alone.
In Jesus holy name.