And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. Luke 1:31
When I was in high school, most of the time the best part of the school day (other than the dismissal bell, I suppose) was the morning announcements.
At my high school, morning announcements was kind of like a “breaking news” radio broadcast. The student council was usually in charge of drafting the announcements and broadcasting them. They always ended with a really dumb joke that usually made all of us laugh because it was so dumb. Jokes like: What was a more important invention than the first telephone? Answer: The second one.
A few years later I was a camp counselor for two summers and we would start each day off with announcements. All the kids would sing: “Announcements, announcements, ANNOUNCEMENTS! A terrible way to die! A terrible way to die!”
I guess the older I get the more I realize that some people don’t like announcements, which is probably why in my current church we don’t have announcements at the end of the worship service.
We have “matters of importance!”
And they are important, at least to some people. I assume others just tune out the announcements because they aren’t all that terribly important to them. I do try to at least make them interesting to listen to. I think they are important because they are, usually, information about upcoming opportunities to serve God and our neighbors or give thanks to God for that opportunity.
The angel’s announcement to Mary of Nazareth was of utmost importance – to her and to the rest of the world. Mary didn’t ignore this announcement. In fact, I don’t think she could have if she had wanted to, since the announcement was that she was going to have a baby!
And not just any baby, but the Messiah that hundreds of thousands (if not millions) have been awaiting for thousands of years!
This announcement was so important that the Church doesn’t just call it an announcement but rather the Annunciation!
As a parent, I can attest that this is the best kind of announcement there is!
Unless, that is, you aren’t supposed to be pregnant because you are still in the betrothal period that is designed to prove that you are still a virgin – or the very least, not pregnant already.
Oops. That’s Mary’s situation. She was going to be married to Joseph but they were in that time period that was meant to show that no sexual sin had been committed by either one. Now that she’s pregnant, what are people going to think? The obvious, most likely!
Yet the angel’s announcement to her is that she is pregnant, is going to have a son, and that son’s name is going to be Jesus!
Mary’s fear will soon enough give way to joyful expectation, because that name – Jesus – will mean everything! But that’s something we’ll explore in a later devotion.
Announcements can have that effect on us – instill fear. Especially when we don’t know what the announcement will be. The words “I have an announcement to make…” can chill a person’s heart.
Or the same words can quicken our hearts because we know the person who’s making the announcement. We’re pretty sure it’s going to be awesome news.
The point is that the person making the announcement can have a lot to do with how we feel before the announcement is revealed.
That’s how Mary felt. The angel greets her and she’s afraid. But then when she realizes that this announcement is from God, she’s not afraid anymore! Or soon won’t be when the initial shock wears off.
If you are feeling a little stressed out and fearful in this days before Christmas, remember why we’re celebrating in the first place!
Each Christmas we celebrate that God announced that sin, death, and the devil are to be defeated because of Jesus Christ – whose birth we are celebrating!
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