December 16 - Angels
Play a good news/bad news game, where one person makes up some good news and the next person has to counter that with the related bad news.
What good news have you had recently?
Was it surprising or something that you had been hoping for, for a while?
The people of Israel had been hoping for a Messiah for hundreds of years, but Mary had no idea that it would be her that would be the one to give birth to him!
We know very little about Mary. Dr Luke in his book about the life of Jesus, tells us that although she was engaged she was not married and she lived in a village called Nazareth. Very little other information is available about her, though people have often used their imagination to fill in the details. Luke writes that she did receive a very unexpected visit from an angel. This heavenly messenger announced himself as Gabriel, the angel who stood in the presence of God.
This was not simply a social call, Gabriel had a message from God. Mary was told that even though she was unmarried she was to become a mother, and her child was to be called Jesus, the son of God. He was the fulfilment of that long ago promise to Abraham that all the families of earth would be blessed through him. I imagine that Mary was quite overwhelmed by all of this and took the opportunity to go and visit her cousin Elizabeth.
Joseph, who Mary had promised to marry, was not left out of the picture. Matthew, in his life of Jesus, wrote that an angel went to see Joseph to tell him about the baby too.
Read Luke 1:26-38 together and see how many bits of good news you can find and check by pointing at the verse numbers below.
Thank God for each bit of good news in turn.
Mary was only young when she received the good news, many biblical scholars think she was only a teenager. God has always used children and young people to share his good news.
In what ways are you going to be good news today?