In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ …Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her. Luke 1:26-38
“How old you think Mary was when she found out she was going to become a mother?” I asked the students.
“Sixteen or seventeen,” One replied.
“No, younger. Thirteen or fourteen,” another suggested.
The usual conversation then followed. Adolescents discussing what it would be like to find out you were going to have a baby…the wonder about whether or not one would believe it if an angel appeared…guys acting out Joseph’s probable reaction…students sidestepping the themes of sexuality (or not sexuality, whichever the case may have been).
I’m always humbled a bit when I consider that God handed his baby boy to a very young woman and her equally young husband-to-be. I don’t know Mary and Joseph personally, but I have a hunch that if they showed up next Sunday to volunteer in the church nursery I probably wouldn’t leave them in there alone. But God entrusted them to care for and raise the Savior of the world.
That’s what God does, though, right?
One of my favorite verses comes from 2 Corinthians 4:7. Speaking of the Gospel, the author points out:
“But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.”
Clay jars are fragile and break easily. They are often just ordinary containers that do not have much value. They are a lot like me. Or like the teenagers and kids I work with. Or maybe like you.
But God entrusts the Gospel to frail, ordinary vessels.
Young Mary and Joseph cradled the Christ baby. You and I carry Christ’s message.
May our fragility glorify God all the more.