Day 9 : Waiting with confidence (Luke 1:34-38)
Where Zechariah doubts the angel’s message Mary is only puzzled- and not unreasonably, how is she to conceive when she knows she is a virgin and her wedding day is still some way off?
But Gabriel wasn’t joking in verse 32 when he said that this would be the Son of the Most High- that’s not some hubristic human title- in verse 35 this isn’t a normal human conception, but the power of the Most High directly at work. It’s bizarre, terrifying, life-plan-derailing news.
Any idea of meek and mild Mary just accepting this and humbly getting on with life misses a remarkable, quiet courage… apparent adultery could still in principle face a death sentence, and she certainly risked deeply wounding, lasting social disapproval. How did she meet the news with such equanimity?
Gabriel points her at the miraculous work already underway in Elizabeth- God’s word to Zechariah certainly did not fail, nor has he ever been unfaithful to his promises… this seems to be Mary’s confidence “May it be to me according to your word”.
She goes forward into danger, not yet sure if her marriage will stand, or whether family and neighbours will reject her… but she goes forward knowing that her child’s reign over Israel is the culmination of the whole string of promises through Israelite history, and no word from God has ever failed.
Through Advent we’re waiting with Mary for this Son, no doubt with our own uncertainties and reservations. Perhaps there are worries particular to this odd season and the challenges of seeing or missing family, or uncertainty about health, isolation, or employment in the coming months. Perhaps we feel de-railed, or are there lifelong questions about whether we’ll see the blessings we yearn for, or whether we’ll ever leave behind the failings that beset us?
But through any turmoil we can wait with confidence… we stand on every promise of his word, knowing he will return, knowing his kingdom- and our place in it- will never pass away.
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Corinthians 1:20-22