“In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.” Luke 1:26-27
In most pictures depicting the annunciation, there is an angel presence speaking to Mary, (sometimes it is modeled after an actual human or as in this picture simply as a presence) but we just don’t know what happened. When I envision it, the Spirit of the interaction is what I focus on. The Angel Gabriel is sent to give Mary the news that she will bring forth the Messiah.
What an incredible thing.
What Mary is being prepared for is something no person ever could. If you have ever been pregnant or preparing to welcome a baby into your home, you know that no matter how “prepared” you may think you are, you are never fully prepared. To be charged with caring for another life is, in the truest sense of the word, an awesome thing indeed. Now, imagine being fourteen, unmarried, and trusting only in the words of an angel. This is the part that stuns me…the trust. This interaction, between Mary and the angel speaks to the power of Mary’s faith. A good Jewish girl, she knew that there might be repercussions, but she said yes anyway. Her knowledge of Scripture, the witness of faith within her community gave her some kind of confidence that allowed her to step up when it mattered.
She said, “Yes”.
So, we know Mary had an angel to tell her about God’s plan for her. But what if we had angels too? Is our understanding of “angels” something that is otherworldly and who would only appear to Biblical characters with a big job to do? Or are we able to recognize that angels can be the people we meet along the way?
I can tell you I have met angels.
My angels don’t float…and sometimes they smell bad, curse or gripe about the line at the grocery store. They would deny they were angels. Their behavior is not always angelic. They are not always reverent. They are not always willing to comfort or support me, nonetheless, I see them as angels. They help me in some way prepare to grow into the person that God wants me to be. They tell me what I need to know to allow the next thing to happen. Kind of like Gabriel. Gabriel makes me consider the people who are sent into my own life to prepare me for something that changes me. Often, it is years later that I finally have some understanding of their role.
But believing in whatever we are being told requires the same trust the Mary had. It requires us to take God at his Word and to know that whatever happens, God is in it, God has been there before you.
This is a theme that we will revisit as we journey through Advent together; the trust required to take God as his Word.
Give it some thought; who are your angels?
Are you willing to take God at his Word?