On this Tuesday in the Fourth Week of Advent, we continue to hear from Luke’s Gospel. Today we read how the Angel Gabriel visited Mary and how she responded to God’s call:
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 for ever, 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 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. (Lk. 1:26-38).
Can you imagine what Mary would have felt when Gabriel made his appearance? She must have been afraid, and Gabriel speaks some of the most often repeated words in Scripture, “do not be afraid.” Mary is then confused by what God’s messenger told her. Even in the midst of her fear and confusion, Mary says, “Here I am, the servant of the Lord, let it be with me according to your word.”
How many of us are willing to trust in God when we are afraid and confused? How many of us would rather rely on our own strength instead of relying on God’s promise to us. On this Tuesday in the last week of Advent, as we prepare for the feast of the Incarnation, Christmas, let us, like Mary say, “Here am I, the Lord’s servant.”
Let us pray: O God, you manifest in your servants the signs of your presence: Send forth upon us the spirit of love, that in companionship with one another your abounding grace may increase among us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Your servant in Christ,
Fr. Chester J. Makowski+
St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church
Galveston, Texas 77550