Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Advent Part #1 - The Anticipation of the Event
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 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, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 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[b] the Son of God. 36 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. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
It is so exciting to begin the season of year we call Advent! At this time of year we begin to sense an expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration that we know as Christmas. Not only do we experience anticipation, excitement, and preparation, but also a distinct longing for the Messiah. In this is the message that Jesus Christ was born to die for the sins of the whole world as our long awaited Messiah.
The story of the Messiah was foretold in the Old Testament which generated much expectation for God’s people over the centuries. Every Israelite from antiquity dreamt of the day when the Messiah would come and emancipate His people. This anticipation fostered an eagerness for a king who would one day rule and reign. He would be One who would salvation to the world.
You can imagine the shock of Mary, when she found out that she would be the one who would be the Mother of the Messiah. The angel Gabriel came to her and explained that she had found favor with God, and she would conceive and give birth to a son. Young Mary was to call him Jesus. She was told that he would be great and would be the Son of the Most High. God would give him the throne of his father David, and he would reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom would never end (Luke 1:31-33).
Generally mothers dream about what their sons would grow up to be like, but Mary already knew. This fact alone would generate tremendous anticipation. Several questions were probably racing through her mind. What would he look like? Would he be tall? What gifts would he have that would allow him to fulfill His great calling? Such questions would fuel the fires of anticipation. Her role as the mother of God was a privileged position. Honor and joy must have filled her heart.
Just as Mary, we anticipate the coming of our Messiah – His second coming! We are privileged to know Him and Joyful in our expectancy of His return!