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, favored 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 favor 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 forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" The angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God." 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 (NRSV)
This interaction between the angel Gabriel and Mary from the 4th Sunday in Advent boils down to three parts, all of which are critical to a growing spiritual life. Lives become puny when we skip one or more.
- · Greetings, favored one!
- · An impossible task
- · Let it be with me according you your word.
First, God visits us all the time and his message is consistent. We are favored. If we do not experience God, maybe because we don't stop to listen or we cannot believe God favors us.
God seldom challenges us to "roll out of bed." God sets out tasks for us that no human could accomplish or bear…without God's help. Do we aim way too low, taking on only things that we can easily take care of?
Lastly, Mary's response is critical. "So be it!" Do we embrace God's will for us despite our fears? Faith kicks in when certainty leaves the room. Faith helps lives soar.
You are favored. God loves you with the impossible. Partner with God and experience what living is all about.