Waiting is not something that comes easy to me. I don’t like to wait but it seems if I were asked to define my life in one word it would be waiting. I often think this time of year about the waiting that Mary went through before giving birth to Jesus. I think of what she must have wondered and thought her life would be like in raising God’s Son. I’m sure that she knew the Old Testament prophecies of the coming Messiah and the expectation of the Jewish people of a Messiah.
Then he said, “Listen now, O house of David! Is it too slight a thing for you to try the patience of men, that you will try the patience of my God as well? “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:13-14, (New American Standard Bible or NASB).
Mary had faith that God would watch over her and she didn’t fear the shame of being pregnant before her marriage to Joseph. I am sure that she was relieved when Joseph came on board with God’s plan because Joseph was strong and healthy and she would need his strength in the coming months. Did Mary know that God longed to be gracious to her people and therefore was sending His Son to them?
Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him. O people in Zion, inhabitant in Jerusalem, you will weep no longer. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you. Although the Lord has given you bread of privation and water of oppression, He, your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher. Isaiah 30:18-20, (NASB).
Mary waited nine months for her baby to be born just as we do today. Do we get the significance of how gracious the Lord has been to us in the giving of His Son to not only the Jewish nation but to the world? The Teacher, Christ Jesus, came to the Jewish people first and they rejected Him after waiting so long upon the Lord. They refused to believe that Jesus was from God. Their sin of unbelief opened the way for you and me to be followers of Christ today. And they are still waiting for an earthly Messiah not having their eyes and ears opened to the truth. Do you know someone like that? Are you waiting for someone to come to the Lord? Are you waiting for someone to repent? Are you waiting for someone to ask forgiveness from God and from you? Don’t despair in your waiting but continue to wait upon the Lord for His timing is not your timing and His way may be different from what you think it will be.
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 name Him Jesus. “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. Luke 1:30-35, (NASB).
Can you imagine how frightened she must have been when the Angel appeared to her and told her of this plan for Jesus to enter the human race? Her faith was simple yet pure; God is supreme and has power over everything. She knew there was to be a Messiah at some point in time but for God to choose her? And what about when she was required to travel to Bethlehem when her time was near? How difficult her journey must have been and how tenderly Joseph must have taken care of her. And then the Babe was born.
While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:6-7, (NASB).
What a woman Mary must have been to give birth without pain killers and without medical staff and without stitches and all that happens to women today in the birthing process. The only help she had to aid her was Joseph to help her and of course I am sure there were legions of angels guarding and helping unseen to the human eye. What a glorious day! And Mary was a good Mother and little is told of Jesus as a child or a teenager or even a young man until He began to preach and teach. Mary was still waiting upon the Lord knowing that her Son was God’s Son and knowing that He was the Messiah. It makes me wonder if she knew the prophecy that He would die as well.
Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due? His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth. But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors. Isaiah 53:1-12, (NASB).
I believe that Mary did know and that was why she stayed so close to her Son and was there at the cross and the tomb. Whether she realized He would be raised up from the dead I do not know but her heart was tuned in to the prophecies I believe. She was waiting for the Lord to come and He did and was part of her family. She lived life the best she knew how all the time she was waiting for her Son to grow into manhood and fulfill His destiny. His destiny has altered many of our own destinies today. Praise the Lord for coming to save you and me! I want to encourage you during this Christmas season to spend some time praying for those you are waiting upon the Lord to act in their life. Pray for that wayward child. Pray for that unstable marriage. Pray for the ill and the dying that God would grant mercy to them in their pain. Pray that God will work in your country for the good of all Christians. As you wait for the answer to the prayer request or the apology or the repentance or the restitution or the…whatever that you are waiting upon the Lord for, pray for peace. Focus on what God has given you and not what your neighbor has been given. Think of the gift God gave us when Jesus was born. Think of the goodness of mercy and grace as you wait upon the Lord today to work in your life and the lives of those around you. God will answer your prayer in His time and His way so don’t despair in your waiting. Merry Christmas everyone!
Until next time…Katherine