Nederlands-Vlaams Bijbelgenootschap
1 december 2022

Learning from Mary

A Blog on Advent by Samuel Ekpo

Advent is a time of the liturgical year observed in most Christian denominations as a period of anticipation and preparation for both the celebration of the birth of Christ at Christmas and the return of Christ at the second coming.

Singled Out

Based on Luke 1:26-38, we surmise that Mary was pure in heart, destined to be blessed through her Son Jesus Christ. The Scripture introduces Mary not as the much-loved example that she was to become, but as a young, meek virgin. You may assume that she was a very young girl with her own hopes and dreams. Between the lines, we can read that she was devoted to God and that her faith was her most cherished possession.

There were other girls in her community, but God chose Mary, as we see from verse 26, “… God sent the angel Gabriel to a town in Galilee named Nazareth. He had a message for a young woman…” (GNT). It was God’s idea to single out Mary to bear Jesus. The angel proclaimed that she was highly favoured, the Lord was with her and she was blessed among women. And God can still appoint an individual for a special assignment in his or her generation, provided the person is prepared and available to be used by God.

How did Mary feel?

Mary was waiting for a Messiah long before the annunciation. But after the angel visited her she actually carried Jesus in her womb for nine months. That’s hard to imagine. Ask any first-time mother what those nine months are like and they’ll tell you it’s scary. Yes there is excitement, but there are also anxieties and an almost unbearable anticipation of an uncertain future. You wait and you wait for someone you can’t see but you know is there. And yet this waiting is not idle; there is a lot to be done.

Knowing what Mary was feeling in the weeks before giving birth to Jesus is difficult – the Bible doesn’t say much about it. You may wonder: was it difficult for Mary to be away from her family and her mother during this time? Even though Jesus’ conception was miraculous, what was Mary feeling when he was born? Did she know what was going to happen? Was she ready for it? Did she think she would be a good mother? Was she fearful? Did she really completely trust the will of God?

Knowing what we do know about Mary, the annunciation and Jesus’ conception, she did put her trust in God, just as she had done nine months prior. There are lots of lessons to be learned from Mary’s awaiting Jesus and his arrival. Mary is a great example of faith and joy for us all the time, but especially during Advent.

Samuel Ekpo is Relationship Manager for Migrant and International Churches

This Advent blog is based on Bible Basics, the free Sunday School programme the Bible Society for the Netherlands and Flanders created for churches. This programme is available in both Dutch and English.

Nederlands-Vlaams Bijbelgenootschapv.4.16.16
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