Who was the first human being in the Bible to learn that the time of Israel’s long-awaited Messiah had finally come? The betrothed but unwed teenager who would become Jesus’s mother.
But what was God thinking? Didn’t He know He had it all backwards!?!
I mean, in a patriarchal society like that, God should have sent Gabriel to deliver the news to Joseph! That would have made it much easier for Joseph to accept, and then maybe he could have done a better job convincing the nosy townsfolk that the baby really was conceived by God.
But no. I’ll tell you, this is one of many passages where I can picture this conversation between the three members of the Trinity:
So as much as it pains me to admit it, I suppose God knew what He was doing, even if it doesn’t make sense to me. (Of course, it doesn’t actually pain me at all to admit this; I was just trying to be funny…)
And although I can’t pretend to know all the reasons why God might have chosen this approach to announce the imminent arrival of the Saviour of the World, there is one that I can guess at: accepting this far-fetched idea had to be a heart transaction before it could become a head transaction. And, of course, women tend to have softer hearts than men, and even more so mothers compared to fathers.
To be fair, as Luke recounts this story in his gospel, Mary does have a brief moment of questioning how this could be, since she was a virgin. But the terrifying, other-worldly creature (i.e., the angel Gabriel) attempts to explain it to her by saying a few sentences that really don’t make a lot of sense. And what is her reaction? She shrugs her shoulders and says:
What a great picture this is, in fact, for all of our first few steps into the Light of faith in Jesus. Taking that leap may not make much sense at first, but those of us blessed enough to be followers of Christ have taken it nonetheless.
Fast-forward toward the end of the gospel, toward the other end of Jesus’s earthly life. Knowing the torturous death he was about to endure to save you and me, Jesus was praying feverishly in the Garden of Gethsemane that the Father would find another way to achieve their objective. However, at the end of it, he gathered up his resolve better than any other hero in history and finally said:
And so it is that a mother’s heart and sacrificial acceptance of God’s will so brightly and aptly reflects the love of our Lord and Saviour.
On this Mother’s Day, I thank God for my mom and mother-in-law, both of whom have gone on to be with Him. I am also thankful for my wife, who has been and continues to be such a terrific mother to our children. Further, I am thankful that the first child to bestow upon me the title of “Dad” is poised to also be the first to grant me the title of “Grandpa”.
Of course, I am grateful for all moms on this special day, and wish you all a Happy Mother’s Day! And since I intentionally avoid getting political in my blog posts, I will say a special prayer for unintentional moms in the trying times that undoubtedly lie ahead, and leave it at that.