This is a reflection I gave for our Sacred Space service tonight that was held in the stable where we held 'The Christmas Experience' (pictured). Imagine it being read there slowly, surrounded by straw and animal noises !!
It’s not an everyday an Angel visits you, but the biggest question is why Nazareth?
Of all the places God could send a messenger?
But there was one person that God needed to get the message to, and she lived in Nazareth.
Who was this person? Someone special for sure. Someone marked out. Someone who suitable.
Actually, it was someone as ordinary as you could get. Mary, a young girl betrothed to an ordinary carpenter called Joseph.
She was certainly afraid, and perplexed when the Angel appeared to her. To paraphrase ‘Seriously? Me?!’
But there was clearly something about that Angel, something about that message, that gave her enough courage to say ‘let this be according to your will’.
And with that the Angels job was done .. and he vanished
But for Mary, this it was just the beginning
The beginning of an awkward conversation with Joseph
The realisation that this was not a dream and that she was indeed pregnant
And the waiting….
Sometimes I am sure she wished she had not known just who and what was growing inside her.
The responsibility would have been much to bear
The awkward questions, the finger pointing, the shaking of heads.
Why didn’t the Angel tell those people as well, to spare Mary from all this?
At the very least why didn’t the Angel wait until Joseph was with her at the same time that he made this announcement?
And the waiting ..
Practical things help to take your mind away from the bigger picture
But in the evenings the mind ticks over and imagines all kinds of things
What kind of birth will this be?
Will Angels show up?
Will Joseph stick by her or will she be on her own?
How lonely that waiting must have been, when nobody else understood.
How much prayer, how much soul searching
And still the baby grew as the time grew close
Did I mention the waiting ?! …
Then, just as the end looks to be in sight, a journey
A stupid journey, seriously, why go?
Why can’t those carrying children be exempt from a stupid census?
If Mary is carrying the son of God inside her – why the risk?
But Joseph insists.
He is stick of waiting as well.
So, they set out on a journey
It’s hard waiting
Even harder when you have to travel miles every day
When Joseph is trying to so hard to protect Mary
When Mary feels so heavy she just wants to drop down and stay there
Other women that are with children pass her, and they can sympathise
But Mary knows she is different, and they wouldn’t understand why
Arriving in a stable
This is part of God’s great plan?
Is this where ‘the son of the most high’ is to be born?
Is this what all the prophets pointed towards for all those years?
The settling amongst the straw
The waiting …
The sounds of the animals
Josephs anxiety, his families’ embarrassment
If you are waiting then you are in good company. If you are weary, anxious, hurting, confused then you are in good company. If you feel as if you have waited long enough, but you don’t quite want it to end .. you are not alone.
If you ever utter the word ‘seriously?’
Know that God dwells there.
Know that God is beside you now.
For nothing is impossible with God.