By Alison T.
The second thing the angel says to Mary when they come to visit her is ‘Do not be afraid.’ This is following ‘Greetings you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ Which greatly troubled her. As a 21 st century woman, with probably a good 20 years of age on Mary this does not seem nearly as scary as what was coming next… She doesn’t think much of herself, describing herself as a humble servant. Yet doesn’t express doubt in her ability to raise ‘the Son of the Most High.’
Her life was interrupted but this arrival, she had plans, she was going to marry a local carpenter, probably go on to raise a few carpenters and mothers, and that would be her future. This news puts this future at risk, and we are told Joseph planned to divorce her quietly. That seems like a good enough reason to be afraid to me!
Pregnancies evoke a range of reactions. Some are longed for, some unplanned, all carry potential, hope and uncertainty. As I write this, I am 29 weeks pregnant. In my 20’s I was single and to be honest didn’t give much thought to having kids or not, I was thinking about my career and leading a full life, enjoying myself. I happily met my husband in my early 30s and married last year when I was 35. We had thought
we probably did want kids. I was successful in interview for a consultant post in February, had planned to start trying in July once I had started my new post.
Then CoViD happened, plans of an exciting holiday before moving city to start the post were on hold. Lots of uncertainty and not knowing when all that uncertainty would end. My husband and I went on a long walk, as that was the only thing you can do, and in the midst of chat we decided to start trying. 3-4 weeks later I confirmed a new start date for my new job, 5 weeks later I had a positive pregnancy test in my hand.
I’m excited about discovering what our baby will be like and discovering the life they will lead. I’m excited to see what my husband will be like as a Dad. However, that first weekend after the positive pregnancy test, I was overwhelmed with how much change was about to happen in our lives. Thinking about the new job, which I actually felt more determined I wanted. I was also thinking about all the change it would mean for my social life, my body and fitness and what it would mean for my
relationship with my husband. It felt like an interruption. There’s still lots of uncertainty, when will the birth be, will I have to have a C Section, will baby groups have started again by the spring, at just the beginning of their life.
Mary had a lot to lose with the news of this pregnancy. Joseph could have exposed her to public disgrace, but ‘he had in mind to divorce her quietly’. With a quiet divorce, she still would have lost her livelihood and may have little way to provide for herself and baby. Her whole life changed and it could have changed even more. I’m sure many feel overwhelmed at first discovering they are pregnant, Mary
had even more reason to be so. Yet, she accepts the task laid before her, ‘I am the Lord’s servant.’… ‘May your word to me be fulfilled’, obediently. We see in Luke chapter 1 with what is traditionally known as the magnificent, she is honouring God for remembering her. She states that ‘From now on all generations will call me blessed.’ At the time when she is still vulnerable to losing everything and faced a
lot of uncertainty. 2000 years later, we still talk about her, and she is called blessed.
Thinking of this I am reminded of all the good that can come out of unexpected turns and interruptions in life. 2020 has been filled with unexpected turns and interruptions for all of us. Mary’s life continued to be full of uncertainty and unexpected turns, giving birth in a stable, then Herod’s threats leading to
being a refugee in Egypt, losing a 12-year-old Jesus at the temple. Then ultimately Jesus being put to death at only 33. The truth is these were uncertain times and things could have ended differently.
Mary had enough faith of at least the possibility of what the angel said being true to persist. God had enough faith in Mary and those around her to entrust Jesus to her. So, my question is do we have enough faith in the possibility of a good outcome to continue to persist for it?