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.' Luke 1:38, NAB
In my Advent devotional today, the referenced Gospel reading comes from Luke 1:26-38. We're told the angel Gabriel comes to Mary with a somewhat troubling greeting – “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you” – as well as an overwhelmingly stunning announcement: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. 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.” (Luke 1:28; 30-32;35, NAB)
Can you even imagine? Being visited by an angel is jaw-dropping enough of an experience. But to be given a message such as the one which Gabriel delivered to this young, already betrothed virgin from Nazareth? Well, it’s hard to fathom. Especially considering the consequences for birthing a child sans the benefit of marriage back in those days and in that locale were, at the very least, to be shunned by fiancé, family and friends, or worse: to be stoned to death.
Yet Mary doesn’t run and try to hide from the angel Gabriel’s presence (that would probably be my initial reaction); she doesn’t try to deflect and tell him that he’s got the wrong gal (me, again!), nor does she ask him to wait or to come back after she’s had time to consult with her parents, with Joseph or with her friends. No, after asking only one (one!!) question out of her youthful innocence, Mary’s humble, courageous response is this: “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” (Luke 1:38, ERV)
Today, where is God calling you to go? How is He calling you to be His conduit, His ambassador, His instrument and to be present in the lives of others? What is He calling you to carry, to birth, to nurture? To whom is God calling you to serve, to encourage, to console, to love, to forgive?
Dear ones, as this season of preparation winds down, and the celebration of our Savior's birth draws near, keep your eyes, ears and heart open for what God is looking to do in and with your life, and consider what YOUR response might be, no matter how troubling or astonishing His calling may sound. And don’t be afraid.