Christmas 2: Mary and Gabriel

Annunciation by James Christensen

Annunciation by James Christensen

The Story of Christmas
Day 2 Reading:
Luke 1:26-38

She was perplexed,
but the angel said,
“Do not be afraid.”
God’s whispers can rattle us.
Don’t be afraid to listen.
– Steve Garnaas Holmes,
Listen to Gabriel

This is what the whole earth waits for, prostrate at your feet. It is right in doing so, for on your word depends comfort for the wretched, ransom for the captive, freedom for the condemned, indeed salvation for all the children of Adam, the whole of your race. Answer quickly, O Virgin. Reply in haste to the angel, or rather through the angel to the Lord. Answer with a word, receive the word of God. Speak your own word, conceive the divine word. Breathe a passing word, embrace the eternal word. – Bernard of Clairvaux

In Mary, and in us, we see our own incapacity to make spiritual things happen by our own devices, by our own intelligence, and with our own bodies; but I can receive, trust, and allow God to do it in me and through me. – Richard Rohr

We know we are entirely dependent upon God, yet we forget and try to make our own provision for tomorrow or waste our energy in anxiety and fear that we will be forsaken when tomorrow comes. Mary was able to trust her life fully to the everlasting arms, sure that she would be upheld no matter what the future brought.
– Rueben P. Job, A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God

Mary’s window on Advent reminds us that the purpose of our God encounters is not understanding, but trust: “Let it be with me just as you have said” (Luke 1:38) is the response of every servant.- Steve Harper, Mary’s Window

Her response to the angel was not, “I will do everything in my power to be who God wants me to be.” It was “let it be with me according to God’s word.” I trust that I am who God says that I am. Here’s where I want to take a page from Mary’s prayer book. Let me be what your word has claimed me to be. Let me become what you have said I am. Your word, oh God, and not the word of the school system or the word of my bank statement or the word of my family or the word of society or the word of the media. But your word O God, let this be what defines me. I will allow you alone to determine my worth. – Nadia Bolz Webber, And a Soul Felt Its Worth: a Sermon on an Overlooked Miracle

Jesus’ own mother was the first female in the New Testament to hear the words “Fear not” when the angel called her to do something “inappropriate for a godly woman”—agree to an out-of-wedlock pregnancy. The angel’s “Fear not” wasn’t just for poetic effect. This young teenager had reason to fear both the angel and the consequences of the job she was being called to do. In the ancient culture, this kind of pregnancy was not considered a misstep, but a violation of family honor that must be answered and was punishable by shunning, divorce, or death. Yet Mary didn’t give fear the final word, but risked her life to answer God’s call. – Carolyn Custiss James

Steve Garnaas Holmes offers two beautiful and inspiring meditations entitled Annunciation. Click here for the one posted in 2017 and click here for the one posted in 2014. Click here for a meditation entitled Bear the Child.

Jan Richardson offers an imaginative reflection on the annunciation from Gabriel’s perspective in her poem Gabriel’s Annunciation.

Prayer: Mary’s Welcome
Holy Spirit, come
Into the smallness of my life
Into the bewilderment
of my being
Into fears
which must be faced

Holy Spirit, come
Into the backwoods of my world
Into the places people forget
Into places people put down… what good can come from there

Holy Spirit, welcome
Here am I, the servant of the Lord
Let it be with me according to your word. Amen.

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For information on The Story of Christmas Reading Plan, click here

Prayer: Mary’s Welcome © 2010 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

For more information on the art and the use of this post in other settings,
please leave a comment.

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