“You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.”
Recently a young couple confided to me that they were trying to have a baby. Of course, I offered the traditional congratulatory affirmations and thanked them for letting me share in their anticipatory excitement. I also promised prayers for a healthy pregnancy and “bundle of joy.”
As the couple went on their way, I perceived an extra little spring in their step. For my part, I paused to acknowledge both the thrills and the challenges that awaited them as parents. Then I offered the first of those promised prayers. Whether or not you are a biological or adoptive parent, I trust you too can imagine some of those highs and lows in their future.
Today’s scripture – the angel announcing to this young woman that she is to be the mother of the long-awaited Messiah, is rich with faith and historical significance. From our contemporary perspective, it may be easy to forget this means that Jesus will enter the world as do we all. The Incarnation means he fully shares our human experience and journey. It also means that Mary and Joseph will face all of the joys and heartaches of parenting – and then some.
“Holy God, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, may this story of a baby and parents remind us of families who are struggling – for whatever reason. Guide us to offer help – directly or through a charity – if that is possible or appropriate. Hear our prayer that one day all homes may be filled with your joy and peace .”