In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him 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 ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “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 holy; he will be called the Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary, said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her. Luke 1:26-38 NRSV
There is a rich selection of scripture readings for this day, but how can one not choose the Annunciation even if the chronology is truncated? At least I couldn’t. This enduring and endearing story is at the heart of the Nativity for many of us, I imagine. Growing up in a “progressive” Protestant church environment (yes, even in Tennessee many moons ago there was such a thing) one didn’t much deal with the virgin birth (or one explored the hermeneutics to determine if Isaiah was properly translated regarding such an event and debates ensued as to its relevance – yada, yada, yada). How we loved the sound of our intellectual bloviations.
These days I’m not as smart as I used to be. These days I just welcome the Christ Child, Messiah, Yeshua, into my heart as Mary did so long ago – no questions asked, no explanations necessary – and even with God’s grace occasionally mutter “let it be with me according to your word.” Not only is this story enduring and endearing — it is life-changing.
Come, Lord Jesus, quickly come.
Offered on December 24, 2014, by Bill Albritton, prayer ministry leader, ponderer, child of God.