“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! “
During this morning’s service, Pastor asked us to reflect on what it means to be blessed. She asked us to consider the paradox of blessings.
We looked at the story of Mary and Elizabeth. I can’t imagine that Mary felt completely blessed when she realized the fact that she was a 13 year-old, un-married woman, pregnant and yet a virgin. What must have been going through her head as she contemplated how she would begin to explain to her fiance, her family, her neighbors how she had come to be in this position? Would they believe her? It would have been a scandal at the very least, and also, as Pastor pointed out, a possibility of a death sentence. The punishment for adultery in those times was death by stoning.
39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth.
And so, Mary hurries to a trusted relative, a woman much older than she. She makes a nine day journey for advice? comfort? to try to make sense out of what was happening to her? Or perhaps she really needed to check out that what the angel had said was true. She must have had great trust and respect in Elizabeth.
She must have had a tremendous faith in God! How could she possibly comprehend the scope of this blessing? Do you see blessings in impossible situations? I have to admit that I sometimes find it very difficult to feel blessed when I am in the middle of a crisis. I become frustrated with God. “Can’t you hear me? Why are you not answering my prayers?”
It is easy to feel blessed when things are going well, but how hard is it to trust God and His plans and have faith that in all circumstances He is blessing us? Mary could not have begun to understand what the following months and years would bring to her, but she answers. “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.” Imagine what blessings that kind of answer would bring to our lives!
So, on this third Sunday of Advent, as we prepare and wait for the celebration of the birth of our Lord and His second coming, may we thank Him for the family, friends and people that He so beautifully puts into our lives. May we thank Him for the blessings that He brings, the ones that are easy to see..and the ones that are difficult to understand.
Be Born In Me – Francesca Battistelli