Good News for the Day, December 24, 2017
Fourth Sunday of Advent (186)
The messenger, Gabriel, was sent from God to a town in Galilee, Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. (The virgin’s name was Mary.) Coming up to her, the messenger said, “Be of good cheer! You are so richly good! The Lord is with you.” But she felt surprised at what was being said to her, and was wondering what sort of greeting this might mean. Then the messenger said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary—you have found a special place with God. “Here! you will conceive in your own womb and have a son, whom you will name Jesus. He will be important; he will be called a Child of the “Most High”; the Lord God will give him the throne of David his ancestor—and he will rule over the family-house of Jacob permanently, and of his realm there will be no end.” Mary, though, said to the messenger, “How can this be, since I do not have relations with a man?” In reply, the messenger told her, “The Creative Miracle of the Other Realm—the Holy Spirit—will come upon you; the power of the Most High will overshadow you. As a result, the child to be born will be called “holy”—The Child of God. Listen—Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age; this is the sixth month for her who was thought barren—nothing proves impossible for God.” Mary said, “All right, I am a girl serving the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say.” Then the messenger left her. (Luke 1)
Reading this conversation as though for the first time with fresh eyes—you and I notice things that familiarity has erased. The narrator, for instance, knows who the people are, knows the feelings Mary has, knows the dialogue of request and assent that happened.
Did the writer, perhaps, offer this narrative as a true example for everyone—that to you and me come messengers from God. The word “angel” is misleading here—it is truly the word “messenger”—someone sent to carry a “message.” And, yes, to me and you there come beings—human, natural, animals, events, news—that carry a message—and the message is a request for our acceptance. Each moment of life is a Christmas gift message wrapped and mysterious, waiting for us to accept.
The “yes” we say to these messengers does create new life! We begin a new existence—with God inside of us! Astonishing as is that truth—it IS true. We see creation as it is, as the Creator sees it—and we find that there is Power in that new life—strength and peace—The Good News embodied in our daily moments.