“In the sixth month, 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 be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.”
Wreath Directions: Light all three purple candles and the pink candle
Read Aloud: Luke 1:26-38
Suggested Carol: Silent Night
Why a virgin? Why did God choose to bring His Son into the world through a young and innocent maiden? Many people have tried to explain the birth of Jesus without acknowledging the virginity of Mary. They try to say that Jesus could have still been God if he came from the union of Joseph and Mary. After all, a virgin pregnancy and birth cannot happen, can it?
But Isaiah 7:14 prophesied that a virgin — which could also be translated “an innocent young maiden” — would be with child and that child would be “God with us,” which is “Immanuel.” A young virgin would become pregnant without intimately knowing a man. Even Mary knew how miraculous and unconventional this was. It was one of many miracles God worked in the earthly life of Jesus.
There could be many reasons given for the necessity of the virgin birth. Perhaps the need for a virgin birth centers around the sin nature of mankind. Ever since Adam fell into sin, all of man has been born with a sin nature — a black disease of the soul that corrupts and twists God’s perfect purpose for people. Because of Adam’s place in the created order as the firstborn human, the sin nature is passed from human to human through the father. Because Jesus had no human father, there was no sin nature passed to Him. He was holy from conception.
Whatever the explanation, the virgin birth was an act of God that no man could claim. It was a miracle of miracles, performed once and never again. Joseph’s part in this tale was not to be as biological father. Mary alone was to give flesh to the Son of God. There must be no confusion about it. It is truly another marvelous mystery we celebrate each Christmas.
This week’s prayer is:
“Our Father in heaven, we light these candles to thank You for sending Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to be just like us in His humanity. We thank You for His atoning blood, shed on the cross for our sins, and that through His resurrection we might have life in His name. We thank You for His first coming and we eagerly await His bodily return. It is in His holy name we pray. Amen.”