Adapted from reflections by SP staff member Laurie Niewoehner.
“And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’” - Luke 1:30-33 ESV
For Mary, this encounter with the angel offers hope beyond her wildest dreams. She is promised not only a child, but a king and kingdom from the line of David. And not any king, but one who would reign forever, known as Son of the Most High.
As Mary and others in the Christmas story encounter angels, signs, and holy moments, they also are overwhelmed with hope. And with good reason! All of history has lingered in anticipation for this moment. In a young woman’s womb, with a family fleeing a genocidal regime, among a motley company of poor locals and distinguished foreigners, we find the centerpiece of all things: Jesus. We find hope.
The Christmas hymn “O Holy Night” summarizes the feeling well: “A thrill of hope — the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks, a new and glorious morn!”
Two millennia later, on the other side of the cross, we understand far more than Mary initially did about this “morning” that was breaking. We know the glory of adoption into God’s family and the intimacy of the Holy Spirit. But still, we too live in the wee hours of morning, longing for full daylight when the reign of the Son is acknowledged in this world.
And our world is still weary — even more so, perhaps. We wait for a new morning, we work for a new world, and we watch for daylight breaking on the horizon.
For those that are discouraged in this process, how can you continue to wait for Jesus’ coming reign? How can you work to usher it in? May we look to Mary as a model. Amen.
“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” - Luke 2:19 ESV