ルカによる福音書1:26-38 Luke 1:26-38,
Today is the first Sunday in December, and in December we can see Christmas decorations in many places, which reminds us that Christmas is coming. Today we read Bible verses related to Christmas. It is the story of a woman called Mary, whom you all know very well. Mary was the fiancee of Joseph, a descendant of King David in the Old Testament. A fiancee is someone who has promised to marry in the future. In other words, Mary had promised to marry Joseph in the future, but they were not yet married.
One day, an angel of God appeared to Mary and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” When a stranger suddenly says to you, “Greetings, O favored one,” you must be puzzled as to what he is talking about. Mary was also pondering what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel told 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 call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” “The Most High” refers to God, and “the Son of the Most High” means the son of God. And “the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,” means that he will be a great king like David. Moreover, “of his kingdom there will be no end,” means that he will be the eternal king.
What a thing to say! How can Mary be pregnant and bear a child when she is not even married yet? In the Jewish country of biblical times, the rules about marriage were strict. If she gave birth to a child without being married, she would be accused of being a slut and would be persecuted and bullied by those around her. Mary retorted, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” She thought that it was impossible for her to bear a child when she was not yet married and had never had relations with a man. But the angel again made it clear: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.” “Nothing will be impossible with God.” In other words, the child who will be born is not an ordinary child, but the Son of God, born through the work of God’s Holy Spirit, and there is nothing that God cannot do.
How did Mary respond? “’But that is impossible. I can never believe it!” Would she have replied like that? No, she believed the angel’s words and replied, “Let it be to me according to your word.” This is how Jesus, the Son of God, came to be born into the world. By bringing Jesus, the Son of God, into the world, God the Father provided a way of salvation for us human beings who are suffering from sin. Ever since Adam and Eve, our human ancestors, sinned against God, God has been promoting the history of salvation in which he saves human beings suffering from sin. And there are times when God does incredible and wonderful things in the process. We, who are living in the time about 2,000 years after Mary’s time, are also living in God’s history of salvation. When we hear wonderful things, shall we say, “Let it be to me according to your word,” instead of “Impossible,” and live trusting in God.