Luke 1:26-27 (Today’s New International Version)
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
A young Jewish woman named Mary, engaged to a man named Joseph, was going about her daily life. She was probably thinking about the wedding, preparing for marriage, taking care of the smaller children in the village, helping her mother prepare the meals, cleaning the rooms of their small house, visiting with sick neighbors– all the small activities that made up the business of daily life in Nazareth.
Little did Mary know that her cousin Elizabeth– who had long ago given up on having a child– was miraculously pregnant! Over six months before, the angel Gabriel had spoke with Elizabeth’s husband Zechariah, and told him that his wife would soon give him a son. Zechariah was skeptical (can you blame him?), but he promise was soon a reality. As Elizabeth’s belly grew, this faithful couple’s joy increased.
This same angel was coming to visit Mary to deliver more amazing news. Outside of the Gospel of Luke, Gabriel is mentioned in only one other place in our Bible. In the book of Daniel, Gabriel appears to explain dramatic prophecies to Daniel. Now Gabriel comes to the town of Nazareth to announce the fulfillment of prophecy through the birth of a child. And the world would never be the same.
When have you been surprised to receive joyful news?