26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 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. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 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.
Greetings favored one! The Lord is with you.
Perhaps you, too might be perplexed if an angel came to you in the name of the Lord. For our daily experience with God is not as direct as this encounter between Gabriel and Mary.
But there is much for us to glean from this miraculous encounter:
What is it to be a favored one? The Greek word in scripture is charis which means “a divine influence of God on the heart.” Mary did absolutely nothing to earn the privilege to be the chosen one of God. It was all by the power of God. God placed the divine influence on her heart.
What is the response of a favored one? “How can this be?” It is a very natural response knowing the pattern of birth and life in the world. For this new creation is something beyond the natural order. The new creation is by the power of the Holy Spirit. This new creation is holy. And Mary’s response will be, “Yes, Lord.”
As believers in Jesus Christ, we are favored ones with “a divine influence of God on our hearts.” For Mary’s story is not just about Mary. Mary’s story is for each one of us. There is a miracle on your heart waiting to be born this Christmas. There is a miracle on my heart waiting to be born this Christmas. There is a miracle on your neighbor’s heart waiting to be born this Christmas. The question is: will you hear the words of the angel and will you say, “Yes, Lord!”
Believe you are a favored one. Listen for the angel God is sending to you. Say yes.
Peace be with you,