We have all heard the warning that if something is too good to be true it likely is untrue. Who hasn’t received an unsolicited email that immediately causes our doubts to flare up about its honesty? When greeted with, “Now, aren’t you the lucky one,” the desire is to head off in the other direction because we know that such greetings have a catch to them. Now don’t get me wrong, hearing good news is fabulous. However, the experience of life is that this good news doesn’t always come easily.
The angel, Gabriel, came to Mary with the announcement
Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.Luke 1:28
The idea of being looked upon with favour in the eyes of God would be a blessing for anyone. Unfortunately, we assume that this will mean blessings as determined by this world: riches, power, success in business, celebrity status, etc. The prophets were favoured by God and they spoke with tears of sadness telling the people what was to come upon them. They were despised and killed by those not liking their message. The favoured of God needed to leave everything behind to travel to a land they did not know beforehand. The favoured of God wandered in a wilderness facing thirst and hunger for forty years. Being favoured by God is to know that the kingdom of heaven is on its way to us from the Lord. We need to remember that this kingdom that is coming from God is not of this world.
Mary was called by Gabriel as the favoured one of God and that the Lord was with her. She was invited to be a participant in the Lord establishing the kingdom. This was absolutely a reason to be blessed. Yet, her pregnancy would invite the shame of her community and culture. How would Joseph respond? Mary was told,
He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.Luke 1:33
This means that a revolution was about to take place and they are bloody affairs. Mary heard the message that she was ‘favoured’ and that the Lord was with her. This was not going to be easy. Her response was to count her in,
Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.Luke 1:38
This is the last Sunday in Advent and we are blessed to hear with anticipation the amazing news of what God was doing through the birth of Jesus to bring his kingdom to us. We are invited to welcome and participate in this blessing. The world is dealing with the politicization of a pandemic and people are dying. The land is facing power grabs with law suits and disinformation (lies). This is not how the kingdom of heaven functions over which Christ will reign without end. May we all have the courage to join with Mary as the blessed of the Lord saying, “let it be with me according to your word.”