God’s silence ended and suddenly He sent Gabriel with a message. This time the message wasn’t for all the Israelites, but rather for a girl in Nazareth. It couldn’t have come in a more surprising place and time. We are getting close to the manger.
“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 descendent 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.” (Luke 1:26-28)
Picture us on a long hike. We told you before our hike what we would see when we finally made it to the end of the path. It is a really hot day, and we drink all of our water after walking just a few minutes. The path is steep, our legs start to hurt. You ask, “When are we there? We’ve walked so far.” We talk about what we will see when we are there, and we realize we haven’t seen one landmark yet. You are tired, hungry and thirsty. You want to give up; we’ll never make it to the end. Just ahead we see our first landmark. You start running, your strength returning. We’re almost there, and you made it!
Remember Isaiah told the people a virgin would give birth 742 years before the angel came to talk with Mary? We can find it in Isaiah 7:14. The Israelites had waited so long, and the Messiah still hadn’t come. Perhaps they felt the promise would never be fulfilled. Growing up in a Jewish family, Mary knew about God’s promise to send a Messiah. Surely she had observed Passover and heard about the blood that protected the Israelites from death in Egypt. Did Mary think about any of God’s clues throughout the generations about the Savior?
Mary grew up in a small village called Nazareth about 90 miles north of Jerusalem. The people were farmers and carpenters, hardly important people like those living in Jerusalem. As a girl Mary wasn’t allowed to learn from the rabbi or teacher, only the boys could do that. She helped her mother, gave water to the animals, and cooked. The day came when her parents and Joseph’s parents decided they would marry. Mary and Joseph couldn’t decide on their own, it was a family decision. Joseph’s parents had to give something valuable to Mary’s parents, and then they were considered betrothed. This is a funny word, but it means they were legally married, but they hadn’t yet celebrated the wedding.
Mary must have waited excitedly for the wedding. She would go live with Joseph in his parent’s home; this was the custom for all women. Perhaps Mary busied herself with making new clothes or linens for her new home. She probably wasn’t thinking about when the Messiah would come. And suddenly an angel was standing in front of her saying, “Greetings, you who are highly favored.” What a shock that must have been! She never thought she would be the answer to one of the clues.
Why did God choose a humble, country girl to be the mother of His Son?
Making a Treat with an Object Lesson
2 small carrots, chopped in large pieces
3 stalks celery, chopped in large pieces
3 green onion with tops
1 small red pepper, chopped in large pieces
5 small radishes
Cream cheese (8 oz), softened
1 package ranch dressing
1. Place the vegetables in a blender. Chop until vegetables are desired size.
2. Remove vegetables from blender and squeeze by handful over sink to remove all liquid.
3. In bowl mix together cream cheese and ranch dressing. Fold in vegetables and combine completely. Add enough mayonnaise for spreading consistency.
1. Divide crescent roll package into two large rectangles. Cover rectangles with vegetable spread. Roll up rectangles length wise to make long roll. Cut roll into pinwheels. Bake as directed on crescent roll package.
2. Make sandwiches with very thin bread or small party bread squares.
3. Serve as a dip with crackers, vegetables and French bread.
Why do you think God made vegetables with different colors? He could have made every vegetable white. God made us with the ability to see colors. He made flowers, fruit, and trees with colors. We can see God’s creativity all around us.
Did you know the different colored vegetables have different vitamins in them? Carrots have a vitamin called beta carotene that helps with eye sight. Red vegetables like red peppers and radishes have a lot of vitamin C.
God always has a purpose in everything he does. Nothing is by chance in our lives. We can trust Him completely.
Make Your Own Game
This is great for kids of all ages! My kids have spent hours creating their own games and playing them. They love when my husband and I play with them because it was their own ideas.
A game can be given as a gift or just enjoyed as a family. Everyone loves games!
1. Tape together card stock paper to create desired board size. Draw out a game with pencil, then trace with black marker. The possibilities are endless!
2. Create a game on many of the free websites. I love https://bingobaker.com/ to make bingo games for any occasion. You can make games for holidays, birthdays and special occasions (World Series, Super Bowl…)
3. Create an Eye Spy set with things around the house. Take a picture of it and print it. Make a list of items to find. You can choose themes or just random items. A child can do this, and even make a book of pictures and things to find. This provides hours of fun.
4. For the Lego lovers in the family, this is a great game. Think of easy objects that can be built with legos in 3 minutes or less. Cut out small rectangles of card stock. Write the name of the objects on the pieces of cardstock. To play you will need a pile of legos, object cards and timer. Set timer for 3 minutes. Turn over one of the object cards to see what you need to build. Turn on timer, and start building. This can be played as an individual, 2 people or even teams.
Copyright © words and photographs by Jane Carole Stein