I’ve been slowly making my way through the gospels recently. I’ve started with the gospel of Luke. When I got to the announcement of the birth of Jesus, I started thinking about it a little differently and trying to connect it to my everyday life. Here’s the reading with my thoughts intermixed.
26 In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,27 to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.
28 And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.”29 But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. – Here Gabriel is appearing to a normal girl and giving her very high praise. She’s taken aback because she’s confused. “What? Me? You’re crazy. I’m just a normal girl. There’s nothing special about me.” She is scared because she doesn’t believe herself to be special. I know I have had moments like this in my life. It’s hard to be different. You feel like other’s are judging you because they don’t understand. It can be scary to step into that world, but there is always someone who will understand and believes each of us to be special. God.
30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. – Translation “You are special, don’t be scared of it. God knows you are special and loves you because of it.” For me, the hardest part of this statement is accepting it. It’s so hard to imagine that someone could love us just for being who we are, but that’s what God does.
31 Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.32 He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,33 and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” – The angel is telling Mary she now has this giant responsibility, but she isn’t the only one. We all have the responsibility to live our lives for Jesus and to share Him with the people around us. It is a big responsibility but one God deemed us ready for.
34 But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” – The way I translate this is “But I haven’t done anything to earn this responsibility.” Mary doesn’t believe she’s worthy to carry the son of God. None of us are worthy to be loved by God, but he does it anyways. He believes us to be worthy and that’s the only opinion that matters.
35 And the angel said to her in reply, “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 called holy, the Son of God. – The angel understands that this is a lot to ask of someone, so he’s telling Mary that she’s not alone. God will always be with her and with His help, she will be able to do the impossible. Often times I feel like everything is so overwhelming and that I can’t do it all by myself. This is because I can’t. I need God’s help. Fortunately, all I have to do is ask for it and He’ll be there. With Him by my side, there is nothing I can not do.
36 And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;37 for nothing will be impossible for God.”
38 Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her. – Here Mary accepts the job given to her. It only took one short conversation to convince her. If the entire world rested in my hands like that, I would need multiple days to debate it. Mary shows how much she trusts God. She knows he will take care of her. I know that God is always there to help me; however, I don’t always trust Him enough to let Him help. My pride gets in the way and tells me I can do it myself. In those moments, I need to take a page out of Mary’s book and be humble. Trust God and it will all turn out well in the end.
This entire story shows how trusting and humble Mary was. Life goals should always include trying to imitate her example.