“In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.
The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.” ‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled.’ Then the angel left her. At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth.”
Advent means ‘Coming’ in Latin; for us it means waiting for the coming of Christ into the world. In the story of the angel visiting Mary as told in Luke 1, Mary suddenly finds herself in a time of unexpected waiting in God’s mystery.
Although the circumstances may be different, many of us too can find ourselves in an uncertain time of waiting. We can often feel that we don’t have what we need to handle the situation we are going through, or to navigate the possible outcomes that may spill over into our lives.
Mary’s choices in her situation are many.
Panic. Stay low. Baton down the hatches to protect her and Joseph’s reputation – she literally could have been paralysed by fear. But in the same delivered message of this huge life changing event and time of waiting ahead of her, the angel had also spelled out the news about Elizabeth.
So instead, Mary chooses not to stay still and she sets off on the journey to be with her relative. She recognises that God has set out for her exactly what she needs in this season of waiting, and she wastes no time in moving towards His provision.
In Elizabeth, Mary had safety and shelter so that her physical needs could be met.
In Elizabeth, Mary had wise company and someone who understood what she was about to go through.
In Elizabeth, (and Zechariah) Mary had a community of believers with whom to give thanks to God and worship Him throughout all that was to come.
As Mary enters the home of Elizabeth, she is entering God’s provision laid out for her.
No matter what we are waiting for, no matter the crisis or the yet unfulfilled promises, God provides what we need in our waiting. These seasons of our lives can be overwhelming and perhaps unlike Mary, we can’t always initially identify what that looks like.
Maybe take some time today to ask God to show you His provision, the people and places set out to hold space for you as you wait. Waiting is not stationary; even now, even here in uncertainty. As you move like Mary towards all that God has prepared for you, your story is still unfolding in His mystery.