Advent Day 6: Highly Favored

Reading

Meditation

Speaking of angelic encounters, as if Zechariah’s encounter with God’s Archangel wasn’t enough, Gabriel shows up again a few months later to Mary.  Now, Mary is very different from Zechariah.  She’s a poor, unwed, nobody from a small town in the proverbial armpit of the Roman Empire.  From a worldly perspective, she couldn’t be less important.  Beggars in town would have had more say than Mary in the goings-on of village life, simply because they were male.
 
Yet, despite the reality of her situation, Gabriel, the Archangel of God, shows up and proclaims to her the reality of who she is in God’s sight.  “Greetings, you who are highly favored…” he says.  I can imagine that Mary was indeed a bit confused by this greeting.  No doubt she knew her place in society, getting married was most likely her best hope for being provided for and having a decent life.
 
Into that “hope,” God introduces a plan that might not only ruin her chances of getting married but would certainly ostracize her from the community that she lives in.  The worldly logistics of this are, to say the least, a bit much, but what is impossible for man, however, is absolutely possible with God.  In fact, Gabriel’s response to Mary, particularly in verse 37, is strangely reminiscent of God’s words to Abraham  and Sarah in Genesis 18, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
 
Imagine getting a message like this in your own life.  God essentially blows up any chance that Mary has to be normal by the world’s standards.  Isn’t this similar, though, to the call of God in Romans 12?  Paul doesn’t offer the opportunity for a “normal” life by the world’s standards.  Cultural norms and worldly success, at any time and in any age, aren’t what the believer is called to.  Rather, Christ-followers are called to a life surrendered to Him, “living sacrifices” that are transformed by the mercies of God and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.  Mary, like us, is invited into a life that is wholly different and fully surrendered.
 

 Prayer

Transforming God,
As You called Mary on a road and a journey that you had prepared for her,
You also call us to a transformed life, one that is different from the world around us.
We see Mary’s willingness to follow and desire to follow you with the same courage and boldness.
Help us, in this season of Advent, to listen to the Spirit’s prompting,
 and show us the places where complacency and comfort are inhibiting the mission you have for us.
Remind us that you have given us Your Holy Spirit to live as salt and light in the world.
Embolden us to live into the identity we have in Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
We pray this in His name,
Amen.
 

One Response to “Advent Day 6: Highly Favored”

  1. […] the birth of His Son and the people to whom He announces it.  We have already considered Mary and Joseph, though in the bloodline of David, neither are royalty by human standards.  Mary, […]

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