What a Surprise!
By Lois Parker Edstrom
Object suggested: Pictures of blue whales
The blue whale is the largest animal that has ever lived on the earth. Try to picture in your mind how big a blue whale is. An adult blue whale can be 90 to 100 feet long. This is far longer than the length of most houses. Blue whales weigh 100 to 150 tons – 200,000 to 300,000 pounds – bigger than the biggest dinosaur that ever lived. Its heart alone weighs 1,000 pounds – the size of a cow. Are you getting an idea of how big a blue whale is?
Blue whales are also the loudest animal on earth. When they come to the surface and blow water into the sky the sound is louder than a jet airplane. Underwater the rumbling noise they make can be heard for hundreds of miles.
Now imagine that you are in a boat and you see a blue whale swimming by and it blows a spout of water forty to fifty feet into the air, making the loudest sound you have ever heard. (If your church structure has something equivalent to the height of the blow, point this out to the children.) How do you think you would react? How would you feel? I think you would feel very surprised to see and hear something so large and powerful. You might also feel frightened.
Thinking about how you would feel if you saw a whale might help you understand how Mary, who was to become the mother of Jesus, might have felt when an angel came to her. She saw and heard something very powerful. The angel, Gabriel, who was sent by God, told her she was going to have a baby boy, and he was to be named Jesus. The angel said Jesus was the Son of God.
Mary was frightened by what she saw and by the words she heard and she was also very surprised. The angel, Gabriel, told her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God” (1:30). That means that God was pleased with Mary and had chosen her to be the mother of our Lord.
So the baby, Jesus, was born and we celebrate his birthday because he was sent by God to surprise us and fill us with his love.
“For everything spoken by God is possible” (1:37).
Scripture quotations from the World English Bible
Copyright 2007, Richard Niell Donovan