Luke 1:28 says, “And he came to her and said, ‘Hail, O favored one [endued with grace]! The Lord is with you! Blessed (favored of God) are you before all other women!’” (The Amplified Bible)
Several theologians refer to something called our “baptized imaginations”. Simply put, it is described as allowing God’s Spirit to enliven the way we think about truth. There is no doubt that we believe in the virgin birth of Christ. But when we encourage our “baptized imaginations” to dwell on the realities of Mary’s pregnancy, we can imagine her ninth month of pregnancy.
Although called a “favored one,” Mary did not escape the difficulties of that month. Women who have experienced pregnancy know that physical exhaustion is a certainty in that final month. While going to the grocery store is difficult for modern women, think what it was like to carry water from the well in a stone jar. Backaches become 24-hour ordeals. One website encourages women to pamper themselves during this month. That was not culturally possible or practically available for Mary.
So how did she do it? And what can we learn from her? The most obvious answer is found in Mary’s response to Gabriel’s astonishing announcement: “Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be done to me according to what you have said” (Luke 1:38). In his Message paraphrase, Eugene Peterson writes it thus: “I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve. Let it be with me just as you say.”
Whether we are men or women, we all go through gestation periods. Sometimes they are physical, but more often they are spiritual or emotional. We suspect that something good is coming, but it hasn’t arrived. We may wonder how God will accomplish his will, but we cling to his promises.
Let this be our daily prayer through ninth month experiences, “Lord, I am yours. I am ready to serve. Let it be with me just as you say. Amen.”