“My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” (Lk. 1:47)

The news Mary received from the Angel Gabriel that she would conceive and bear a son was not only a surprise it was a miracle about to happen.  She was engaged to Joseph but had not lived with him or been with any other man.  The conception of a child would be a one-of-a-kind event which had not nor would ever happen again.  It was a shock to her as she asked, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” (v.34)  Her question is not over Gabriel’s message but the method by which it would take place.

Gabriel explains that the Holy Spirit would come upon her, overshadow her in His power and she would conceive in her womb.  Her child would be a son to her and the “Son of the Most High” whose name would be Jesus.  In spite of the mystery surrounding this announcement she accepts the news with faith responds by saying “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word.” (v. 38)

It is during her visit to her relative Elizabeth that Mary seems to understand what is happening.  She is the chosen servant of God to bear the Messiah into the world.  The great expectation of the coming Deliverer is now realized and He was her child.  She would be blessed and the world would be redeemed.  The mighty on earth would be humbled, great kingdoms would fall, the humble exalted and the hungry fed.  She “gets it” as she realized that her Son would change the world by redeeming it.  He would be the fulfillment of the promise given to Abraham that the nation of Israel would be great.

Mary rejoiced at her part in the great Redemption Story.  She rejoiced to know that her Son was God’s answer to a world filled with suffering and injustice.  She rejoiced knowing that God keeps His promises.

We live in a sin-stricken world given to violence, injustice and corruption.  When innocent people suffer, children are murdered, and individuals go hungry we often ask where God is or how can He allow this to happen.  We love our freedom and independence until it turns out evil.  We love to pursue our pleasures until we are addicted and out of control.  Then we want to question God’s love, justice and mercy.

But God has done something.  He sent Jesus Christ His Son to transform us and our world so that nothing evil ever happens again.  Mary understood this as she surrendered her life to God’s will no matter how mysterious or costly it was.  Light the Joy Candle tonight and rejoice in the Lord.