Reading: Luke 1: 26-38 and 46-55
Verse 28: “Greetings you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you!”
Do you remember the birth of your child or children? It was an awesome experience! Yes, there was great pain and perhaps it lasted too long, but at one point there was suddenly life when before there was none. The baby emerges into the world and draws its first breath – life is born! There is a sacredness to the moment that life is first brought into the world. It is a holy moment when God is present. It is something we will never forget.
When one steps away from the birth of our own children and we look at birth in general, it is still an amazing thing. In each birth is the beginning of something new, therefore it is filled with excitement. It is also filled with hope and dreaming. Parents all over the world look at that newborn child and wonder about their son’s or daughter’s future and hope that it is blessed.
For Mary, the angel tells her she too is blessed. The angel Gabriel says, “Greetings you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you!” She will carry the One who will save the world from our sins and show us the way to enter into life eternal. Likewise, her cousin Elizabeth carries a special baby. She will give birth to John the Baptist, he who will prepare the way for the coming of the Lord. For these two mothers, they know through the angel’s visit that children are something special. This must ramp up their own sense of excitement and dreaming about the future.
Yet we know what Jesus and John will eventually experience. Both of these precious babies will give their lives in obedience to God. Both will suffer. Both will die willingly for their God. Both willingly die for the people they love – John for Jesus and Jesus for you and me. We celebrate Jesus’ birth tomorrow night. It is a birth orchestrated by God. It is a holy birth. It is a birth that brings hope and promise to all the world. It is a birth that brings hope and promise to you and me. It is a hope and promise not just for tomorrow night, but for forever. Thanks be to God. Amen!