Advent (Day 3)

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name 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 father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:26-33 ESV).

Yesterday we looked at God’s bestowed favor on Mary. Today I want to draw your attention to another phrase. Luke reports the angel’s message that she has not only found favor, but “the Lord is with her.” We know Mary was engaged to Joseph, a local carpenter, a humble man; however, God certainly didn’t choose her because of her standing in society. She listened intently to what the angel Gabriel said to her, and while she questioned it, she bowed to superior wisdom. She didn’t panic. She believed that with human beings lots of things don’t make sense, but with God, anything and everything is possible. When God became involved in Mary’s life, no doubt things became more complicated for her. When God became involved in Mary’s life – an unmarried girl, what is more a betrothed unmarried girl, was about to become an unmarried mother. When God came in Mary’s life she was exposed to innuendo, gossip, rumour-mongering, especially when she claimed that she was still a virgin. When God came into her life her relationship with Joseph was strained and you can bet that her friendship with other girls her age was also under pressure. And that was merely the beginning of the complications of this favor from God.

She knew the complications that would follow this news and I am sure she questioned how this could possibly be from God. It should not surprise us that the angel simply says, “The Lord is with you.” That should be our baseline for every circumstance of our journey. God doesn’t flit in and out of our lives. In fact he never leaves us. Everything that happens produces good in our lives. We wonder just as she did how that could be possible. The angel answers simply, “With God all things are possible. Take heart today. As impossible as your life may appear, it is nothing in the hands of God. He makes all things and as he does so, all things are possible from him. Regardless of the challenge or pain of your journey, trust him! The Lord is with you too!