Introduction: For hundreds of years many Christian traditions have read passages of scripture using a tool called a lectionary. This Advent season our devotional team decided to resource you with selections from the Revised Common Lectionary. You will encounter texts from the Psalms, the Prophets, and the New Testament as well as formal prayers. Each text has been selected to build anticipation for the coming of Christ – the Light of the World – amid the dark, cold days of winter. Reflect on the first coming of Christ while yearning for his second coming.
Note. If you desire to read these passages in a different version of the Bible, this link will provide all the readings for week 4 in Bible Gateway where you may also choose other versions of these passages.)
The Birth of Jesus Foretold
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
Source: Year B – Advent : Revised Common Lectionary
This is such a wonderful story!! There are many things that jump out at me, but I want to point out two:
The angel announces to Mary that NO WORD from God will EVER fail!! What an amazing promise! And it isn’t just pretty words. It is Truth!! Stand on it!! If God said it, it’s going to happen!
Secondly, we ought to do our very best to emulate Mary as she responds to the angel’s pronouncements. Mary is a teen, and not a grad of Jerusalem U. She has to be bewildered. The angel has told Mary something that in the scheme of things is outrageous. A virgin birth? Her response is the same one we all ought to model:
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”
Just Wow!! Just Wonderful!!