Once King David was securely established on his throne, he wanted to build a temple for the Lord. God told him no, but also made a remarkable promise: “The Lord himself will establish a house for you” (2 Sam. 7:11). God’s faithful love would never be withdrawn from the line of David: “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever” (v. 16).
And we know the rest of the story! God’s covenant with David was fulfilled in the person of Jesus, Son of David (Luke 1:32b–33). Today begins four days of Christmas readings, starting with Gabriel’s announcement to Mary, called the Annunciation. The Eternal Word would become flesh, literally, in her womb (John 1:14). God would be one of us, with us—Immanuel (Isa. 7:14).
The baby’s name would be Jesus, the Greek form of Joshua, meaning “the Lord saves” (Luke 1:31). He would be “the Son of the Most High” or the “Son of God,” that is, the second person of the Trinity (vv. 32a, 35). As the Messiah and a descendant of King David (see the genealogies in both Matthew and Luke), He would be given the throne of David and fulfill God’s promise (vv. 32b–33).
There would be no biological father, though Joseph would become Jesus’ human father. Mary was a virgin. The life inside her would be conceived by God (v. 35). This is a miracle but not necessarily that surprising, given that God is the source of all life and made the first man out of dust, the first woman out of a rib.
Mary’s response was filled with faith, submission, and humility, despite the sheer size of the news and its unprecedented nature. Gabriel encouraged her with the reminder, “No word from God will ever fail” (v. 37).
What are you trusting God for this Christmas? Does it seem impossible? Remember you worship the God of the impossible. Perhaps you’re trying to work it out with your own resources or strength. If so, consider the faith-filled example of Mary, who said, “I am the Lord’s servant. . . . May your word to me be fulfilled” (v. 38).
Our reading today celebrates Immanuel, God with us. Let’s ask the Lord to grant us Mary’s ability to follow and obey Him with humility, and be encouraged as well by Gabriel’s words to her: “No word from God will ever fail” (Luke 1:37).