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Friday, December 6, 2013
Today’s Reading | Luke 1:26–38
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. (NRSV)
The danger of a passage like this is that because it is familiar we don’t take the time to really ponder its meaning for us today. I am struck most by Mary’s initial reaction. Gabriel says to her, “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 goes on to tell her to fear not. Did he misunderstand her quiet contemplation as fear? The amazing thing about this encounter is that in it Mary seems to express no fear. Her reaction is one of extreme patience and contemplation. She does not jump to any conclusions, but ponders what sort of greeting this is. She does not act from emotions but from thoughtfulness. She does not seem angry or fearful or annoyed.
Gabriel states that “the Lord is with you” and Mary concludes by responding, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Put yourself in Mary’s shoes for a moment, how would you react? For Mary, the knowledge that God was with her was enough. As a servant she followed in trust and obedience. Have you remembered lately that the Lord is also with you? We are also each called to be the servant of the Lord. If we surrender to this fact rather than our own desires, we can truly be transformed. So in this Advent season remember that the Lord is with you today, right now. Open yourself up to this presence and listen for where God is calling you.
Loving God, help me remember that you are always with me. As you did with Mary, you have also chosen and called me. Open my ears to hear your voice among all the preoccupations of this season. Help me to serve you. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.
Written by Liz Nickerson, Family Ministry Coordinator
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