In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. . . For nothing is impossible with God.”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Luke 1: 26 – 35; 37
There are so many parts of the Christmas story that we love, that I don’t think we could ever choose a favorite. But this exchange between the angel of God and Mary, the young woman who was told that she has been chosen by God to bear His Son, has to be one of the most beautiful and profound statements of love and faith found in all of Scripture.
God favored Mary among all the rest. Why would He have chosen such a young, ordinary, peasant girl – possibly as young as 13 or 14 – who came from the small town of Nazareth with an insignificant background and from a modest family? In a worldly sense, there was nothing really special about her, but she must have had an inner beauty with her humble, gentle, and quiet spirit that impressed God. And her deep faith and obedience must have been so pronounced that He chose her to become the mother of the Son of God.
What an honor and a blessing to be chosen. Yet, her first reaction when the angel Gabriel approached her with the news was understandable and predictable. She was troubled, confused, and perplexed at how such a thing could be. She was being asked to believe in a miracle that had never occurred before or since. How her mind must have turned to her family, her town of Nazareth, but most of all to Joseph. How could he ever understand and accept such news? And even if he did, what shame and heartache she knew that she would have to endure.
Yet, even with these thoughts, after hearing Gabriel’s answer that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and that “Nothing is impossible with God,” she accepted the news with grace and was ready to do what she was being asked to do.
Her simple response says it all: “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”
Mary believed in Her loving God. She accepted the news on faith that she would bear His Son. She had no need to question Him further for she had received the only answer she needed – and that was the assurance that God was with her and His favor was upon her. She was ready to trust in Him.
God would show His glory through a young peasant girl who was willing to follow Him and His will for her life. What a beautiful story that demonstrates what can happen when we allow our faith to reach beyond what we understand. If only we could be like Mary and trust in Him wherever He takes us. For we, too, have His promise that He is always with us and that “nothing is impossible with God”.
God of heaven and earth, our Creator and Sustainer of life, fill us with your loving assurance and strength so that we too might be more like Mary and stand ready to accept what you bring before us and go forward trusting in you. How grateful we are for the gift of your Son and His amazing, saving grace. Amen