Welcome to Day 2 of the Chase family celebration of Advent! Join us as we look at the powerful emotions that Mary experienced during the nine months of her pregnancy as she anticipated the birth of Jesus.
Before that angel appeared, Mary’s life was running in neutral. Luke doesn’t give a clue where this event with the angel took place other than to say it happened in Nazareth, the small town where she had likely grown up. Surrounded by family and friends and familiar sights she had known all her life, Mary likely felt at ease. Life was predictable.
Enter the angel.
I am guessing that this heavenly being appeared to her privately, no small obstacle when one lives in a village where everyone knows everyone else’s business. Believe me. I know. I lived in a small town in Mexico. One morning, while I was busy at my language helper’s home, my partner Inez went to the store to buy candles, soap and some batteries. She paid for them with a ten-peso bill. My language helper’s child happened to be at the store, observed the transaction and reported the entire event to me in detail, so when I went home for lunch I told Inez, “You went to the store this morning. You bought candles, soap and some batteries. And you paid for them with a ten-peso bill.” She was astonished! Nothing remains private for long in a small town!
So the angel appears to Mary when she is alone in some private area of town.
But privacy also means being alone. And alone means vulnerable. Gabriel identifies Mary’s emotion clearly: “Don’t be afraid, Mary!”
Don’t be afraid?! Don’t be alarmed when an angel has just appeared in front of you?
Fear is a powerful emotion. It triggers a flight, fight or freeze response that bypasses the reasoning portion of the brain. Mary, however, does not run away. She does not resist. Nor does she freeze. As the angel continues to speak, she listens. Where did she find the peace to stand still and listen?
A new year is beginning. Are you anxious about the future? Do you have fears about finances? Do you worry about your health? If an angel could calm Mary’s pounding heart, surely God Himself can handle your fears. In John 14:27 (NLT), Jesus promises us the ultimate Christmas present: “I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”