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.” - Luke 1:30-31
As Christmas fast approaches we are reminded of the miraculous birth of Jesus. While the holiday season can get busy with planning, shopping, and decorating, it is important to remember to pause and remember the reason underlying all of the commotion.
For thousands of years the Jewish people had been engaged in a tumultuous relationship with God (‘Israel’ literally means ‘Wrestles with God’). Little did they know, this ‘wrestling’ was but the necessary growing pains leading to the birth of their messiah.
Just as children must be reproved by a good parent to instill proper values, Israel was guided along a path of hardship and difficulty, all leading up to the moment of fulfillment. Mary “found favor with God” and thus was granted the privilege of being the bringer of Life into the world.
The Christmas story is a story for all of us. We all endure long periods of wrestling, as Israel did. But God fulfills His promises. As Paul tells us “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Gal 6:9). By continuing, with perseverance, to seek God and His Kingdom, we too will find favor with God, and be the bearers of Life on Earth.
For you bless the righteous, O Lord; You cover him with favor as with a shield -Psalm 5:12