Jesus’ birth is foretold in this gospel where Gabriel comes to Mary and announces that within her she has the king that Israel has long awaited. To have found favor with God surprises Mary, a woman with none of the qualities valued in her society. She was female, young, poor, and didn’t even have a husband or child to give her existence credibility. Not only did this puzzle her, but she knew she was a virgin and carrying a child didn’t logically fit. Her puzzlement gave Gabriel the opportunity to explain that the baby she carried was conceived through the Holy Spirit. Mary accepted what was told to her, and remained open to God’s will. At the same time, she learned that her cousin, Elizabeth, was also pregnant. This pregnancy was miraculous as well, since Elizabeth had been thought to be barren and was now an old woman.
Mary accepted the gift of Jesus with a willing and thankful heart. She is a good model for us as we approach this busy and hectic time of year. Rather than be so concerned about all the preparations for the holiday, at least for a few minutes today, take time to thank God for the gift of Jesus and the promise he brings to each of us. Along with Mary, we might be thankful for the gift of our family and friends and focus today on what is really valuable about these gifts.