Luke gives an account of an angel visiting Mary telling her about the son she will conceive. The angel said, "Do not be afraid for you have found favour with God."
So what is it about Mary that brought this favour thus making her God's choice?
She was meek at heart. This is not high minded, bolstered up, feeling entitled but faithfully journeying through life striving to be the person God would have her to be.
She was a God fearer, not one terrified of God for what he might do, but someone who had awesome respect for the great I am, the creator of the universe. This type of holy fear keeps one in the right relationship with self and with God. This inspires us to love and adore Him.
Mary was available, she sought a pure heart and was ready to trust God and do His will.
When I was younger, we used to sing a simple song, "I want to live right that God may use me, at anytime and anywhere"
Writings about the subject of mother Mary, tell that none of this was going to be easy for her. When she approached Joseph, just think of the questions he would have.
What have you been up to? What is all this about angels. Bear the Holy son of God? This has never happened before. Why now, why you, why me?
Who would believe this?
Mary trusted God; the angel promised that the Holy Spirit would come upon her. That was all sufficient. Having the Holy Spirit coming upon us is all that any of us should need.
God has not changed and today is not so very different.
I was glad to receive a card from a pupil this week with "Happy Christmas" on it. It is such a lovely time of year and it is a joy to celebrate the coming of our Lord.
But this year has been changed and I thought a Happy Covid Christmas would have been more appropriate. Our celebration is tainted with thoughts of the important people to us that we have lost due to the virus or because they have not been able to get to hospital to get life saving treatment. I sadly reminisced about last year when the school choir sang carols around the tree and we had Christmas parties, all of which either cancelled or changed beyond recognition. Then we get to Church, having to sit sparsely measured out, masked up and are rightly told that singing indoors could compromise our safety.
God remains Good, as He is always. All of the ongoing sadness is for a short season, then, as we will see, the mornings and nights begin to get lighter, the earth in our hemisphere warms, Spring comes and the green shoots appear. I do not know what will happen in 2021 and how the virus is to phase out. What a privilege to have God in this equation!
If you continue with Luke 1 there is a description of Mary's visit to Elizabeth. By the power of the Holy Spirit she magnified God in her heart and rejoiced because God was with her and she acknowledges Him as the only hope of salvation for her and everyone.
Thankfully, we too can rejoice that the Lord is at hand.
The difficulties of today are in hand and will be attended to.
May we continue to live ready for God himself to use even us, if only in some little way, to fulfil His purpose in the world?