Why do we have only an angel and Mary in our manger scene today?
God promised that through Abraham’s family the Messiah/Savior would be born. As girls were born in Israel, the question about their future included whether this could be the mother of the promised Messiah. As time went along this promise was confirmed, including the promise in the prophet Isaiah (7:14), “behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel (God with us).”
“When the fullness of time had come,” (Galatians 4:4) the angel Gabriel (strength of God) was sent to a small village in Galilee to a young woman named Miriam (English “Mary”). He was sent to tell her that God had shown His favor to her by making her the woman through whom God would come to earth. She was to conceive in her womb and bear a Son, whom she was to call Yeshua (Jesus).
Gabriel said about 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 father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end. Jesus would fight the battle in our place and win over sin, death and Satan. He would open the way to heaven, making those who have faith in Him members of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus would give us eternal life in that kingdom. He rules His kingdom on earth by grace, and rules those in heaven by His glory.
Mary did not know how her Son would save the world. She did not know that He would die for our sins and rise from the dead. She rejoiced that her child was her Savior (Luke 1:46-47). She did not know what it would be like to raise a child who was God her Savior. She only knew that God was fulfilling His promise, so she humbly accepted her part in God’s plan.
Today we celebrate God’s faithfulness. He was faithful to His promise to send us salvation, and Jesus saved us. As we celebrate Advent, we humbly thank God for sending our Savior from sin. We confess our sins and prepare to celebrate the birth of the Savior. We also spread the news, to a faithless world, that God is faithful. The Savior has come! The Savior will return as He promised!
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, Hymn 347, Verse 1, Lutheran Service Book O Come, O Come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, That mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.