Christmas Season- the Angel Gabriel Speaks to Mary

Luke Chapter 1:26 to 33-  26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 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, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

Thanksgiving is over here in America and it seems the Christmas Advent Season came so quickly. Nevertheless, my thoughts now turn to the first Christmas when Jesus was born.

Imagine being Mary and suddenly an angel appears to you. Mary was perhaps 14 or 15 at the time.  She was engaged to Joseph and her life was normal and then all of the sudden out of nowhere an angel is talking to you. She is startled by his appearing and his words trouble her. He says “Greetings you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you” This is not a normal greeting. Even back then people didn’t just walk around saying greetings like “you who are highly favored” to each other. Understandably Mary is troubled by this surprise visitation. We would all be troubled if an angel popped out of nowhere and began speaking to us.

The angel Gabriel tells her, “do not be afraid Mary”. Easy for the angel to say, but perhaps not so easy for Mary to be speaking to an angel. He goes on to tell her that she will have a son who will sit on David’s throne. Mary knows the promises from the law and the prophets that the Messiah will come. Now this angel is telling her that she will give birth to the Messiah. Imagine being in her place. One minute you are minding your own business walking along on a normal day. The next minute the angel Gabriel pops out of nowhere and tells you that you will give birth to the Messiah, the Savior of the world.

One thing I have learned about following God- expect the unexpected. God ways are not our ways. He is always at work around us, but to us it seems sudden when it happens in our lives. We go about our normal everyday lives, and surprise God shows up. We think our situation is hopeless or we think God has forgotten us, and then there He is doing His work and we are surprised. The Romans had occupied Israel for so long that there seemed little hope of a Messiah coming, and now an angel is telling Mary that she will give birth to the Messiah.

Only one small problem that Mary can think of at that moment. If she is to give birth to the Messiah, the problem is that she is a virgin. In our modern society it is possible for a virgin to have a baby with medical intervention. Back then doctors thought bloodletting was a good idea. They did not have hospitals or OB-GYN doctors. So Mary asks the angel a question, “How can this be since I am a virgin?” Gabriel tells her that the she will conceive of the Holy Spirit and the child will be the Son of God. He tells her that nothing is impossible with God. How many times have we had a situation we think is impossible? The birth of Jesus by the Virgin Mary is a testimony that stands for all time of how nothing is impossible for God. Tomorrow I will look at her response to all of this. For today I want to reflect on the fact that NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR GOD.

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