Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The First Joyful Mystery: the Annunciation

"And he came to her and said, 'Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!'  But she was greatly troubled at the saying and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. 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.' "  Luke 1:28-31

Mary was on the edge of womanhood. She was full of dreams. Already betrothed to Joseph, the marriage ceremony had not yet occurred. Joseph would be a good husband, she was sure. Gentle, kind, hard-working. Their life would be simple, but faith and dedication would join their hearts as one. 

One day there would even be children, she hoped. Motherhood seemed a sweet dream, indeed. Strong sons, gentle daughters.

All this and more filled Mary's heart that day, as she went about her work.

A bright light. A being filled the room with a holy presence, where a moment before had been no one.

"Hail, full of grace," he greeted.

She fell to her knees in amazement, breathing in holy air, her heart hammering.

Then, the unfolding of a message so amazing, so un-looked for.

She listened in awe. Unbelievable, yet she believed. Through God it would be accomplished.

"Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to be according to your word."

Gone. All was quiet now. There lingered an aura of peacefulness and tranquillity.

She sought her bed, needing to lie down, to pray and think.
Every Jewish girl hoped to be the mother of the Messiah. Why her?
She wanted children one day. But now? Like this?

What would Joseph think? He could have her stoned for adultery and infidelity. She dreaded the look in his eyes when she told him.

A whispered prayer for him. He would need strength and courage to face this.
There was a quiet joy in her heart, the thought of a tiny life being nurtured inside her own body. The anticipation of warm baby skin, soft downy hair, sweet milky breath.
A moment of fear, too. Was she ready for this charge? The protection and care of a small life - a big responsibility.
If Joseph left her, how could she survive on her own and care for this special child?

God will provide. She breathed.

Fear and joy; dread and anticipation; dreams and questions. All fought within her.

She remembered the words the angel had spoken -
"For with God, nothing will be impossible."

Peace flowed through her. Her heart stilled. A smile spread across her face as she lifted her heart, so full, to God.


The moment we learn a child is expected in one of many emotions - wonder, joy, fear, and a feeling of being unprepared, or even uncertainty. Or relief. It is not unusual to experience many varied and conflicting emotions throughout the whole of pregnancy. No matter how we may have hoped, how much we wanted it to happen, it can still take our breath away! It can take a lot of getting used to, the knowledge that a child you can not see or feel is growing within you or your loved one.

But, with God, nothing is impossible. He is the Author of life - of our life and the life of our child. Our aim is to trust Him in all things, so like Mary we may say, "Be it done to me according to your word."

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