2017-12-10 / Family

Remember what the season is truly about

By ZAFFIE HADIARIS
Columnist

“Tis the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the general fire of charity in the heart.” Washington Irving

We are on the road to Christmas. It is one of Western civilization’s best known stories. For two thousand years it has been told and retold. Let’s take a look at this most amazing moment in history. We gain insight from historians, archaeological, biblical scholars and theologians.

Christmas belongs to everyone. The Christmas story begins in a tiny, fifth-rate hill village called Nazareth, in a third-rate country called Israel. This was an insignificant little town. Its population is estimated to have been between one hundred and four hundred people. So, why here? Why here did God choose this town of all places to find a young woman to bear the Christ? Why would God choose this village, which was looked down upon by the people of Galilee? What does it tell us about God that this story did not take place in Sepphoris among the wealthy living in their luxury villas, but instead among working class people some who lived in caves?

Let’s look more closely at the woman God chose to be the mother of Christ. History relates that Mary was a simple peasant girl most likely about thirteen, although a more mature thirteen-year-old than we might expect. Young women married at that age in the ancient near East.

In the sixth month, God sent the Angel Gabriel to Mary in Nazareth. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you are highly favored! The lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words. She was clearly confused, even frightened by it. Gabriel spoke soothingly, “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. “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 the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” (Luke 1:30 -33)

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will over-shadow 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 who was said to be barren in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

Mary heard the words of the messenger and she tried desperately to understand. Would she really be the mother of the Messiah? She would be pregnant out of wedlock? What would her family think? What would Joseph think and do?

As we prepare our hearts for Christmas we remember the young woman who gave birth to Jesus on this first Christmas night.


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