December 9, 2013

Luke 1:26-38—Second Monday of Advent

The Angel Gabriel was sent from God…May it be done to me according to your word.

A year ago or so I read a book by Shawn Small, The Via Advent.  These are my memories of that engaging book.

Have you ever wondered what Mary was doing when the Angel Gabriel visited her?  We know she was betrothed to Joseph and like any young woman, she may have been daydreaming about her wedding day.  How many guests would attend and what gifts would they bring; would the wedding feast last for days?

She may of thought about Joseph, wondering what he was doing and was he thinking about her.  As she entertained these thoughts, she suddenly felt herself engulfed in a great light as if the fire in the fireplace had transformed the entire room.  Then a figure materialized before her, so brilliantly bright as to be blinding yet she couldn’t look away.  Finally, the figure spoke and it sounded like a mountain breeze carrying a beautiful song to her ears.  “Hail, O favored one…”

Gabriel must have been startled when Mary didn’t seem to be taken aback by his imposing appearance, as so many others he had visited had done.  Gabriel must have thought to himself, ‘Who is this woman?”  As he continued with his pronouncement …”He will be called the Son of the Most High”…  Mary began to glow but it was not the word that the long awaited Messiah was coming that confounded her but the fact that Yahweh had chosen her, she was the favored one.

Mary was sure she was still in her daydream, how could she be standing before the Lord’s messenger?  She wondered how she could do any of what Gabriel was saying—she was a virgin, in fact, she had never been alone with a man.  Gabriel looked into the innocent eyes of the girl and said, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you…the child to be born will be called Holy, the Son of God.”  Mary was somehow able to simply receive the Gabriel’s words as truth.

Finally he said to her, “Did you know that your cousin Elizabeth…is now six months pregnant with child?  Nothing is impossible with God.”  At this announcement, Mary was astonished and Gabriel waited for her response.  Speaking slowly in a whisper of humility and surrender, Mary said, “I understand the will of the Father.  I am his servant…let it be with me according to all you have spoken and revealed.”  Gabriel then slowly left her.

Mary found herself at home again and wondered if she had actually been gone or was it part of her daydream.  As she sat there she looked down at her belly knowing Life was within her womb.

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