I Can't Wait!

Years ago I built a manger out of Maria's grandfather's barn wood.  This year we decided to leave it empty in anticipation of the arrival of the Christ child on Christmas.  In all honesty it has been hard to wait, especially as we see the nativities in our neighborhood filled with figurines looking in awe upon the baby Jesus.  Imagine the anticipation of the virgin Mary once she received her angelic visitor.      

The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, "Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you."  But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.  Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.

"Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."  But Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?"  And the angel said to her in reply,  "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.  Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.  And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God."  Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.  Luke 1:26-38

Mary could not have anticipated the surprise visit she received from the angel Gabriel.  Her initial reaction was one of fear and Gabriel comforts her with words of affirmation and peace.  But things were just starting to get interesting.  After hearing that she will bear a son Mary learns that her child will be, "...great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."

Hold on!  Those are some heavy duty expectations!!  For nine months Mary carried her baby knowing all of this.  For 30 years she waited and wondered.  For three days she mourned.  And then...the Son of the Most High rose from the dead and eventually rose to His throne to rule forever!!!  To say that Mary's wait was worth it is an obvious understatement but how did she endure the waiting?

We find out how in Mary's trusting response to the angel Gabriel, "May it be done to me according to your word."   Mary accepted her role as Jesus' mother unconditionally.  She did so not knowing what it all meant.  She simply trusted God, waiting for His Word to come to pass.

And I can't wait to put my manger figurines out in my front yard?!?  Mary models a graceful acceptance of God's will.  We too need to wait on His coming at Christmas and everything that comes everyday beyond.

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