Christmas is also the story of a highly dramatic dialogue between the Angel Gabriel and Mary.
First there is the greetings from the angel. The angel greeted Mary saying that she was highly favored with God and that God was with her.
We have to try standing in the shoes of Mary to understand her reaction. Having grown up in a tradition where men held priestly and prophetic offices, she was fully justified in being greatly troubled at the words of the angel. The sudden appearance of this angel who stands in God’s presence (Ref. Luke 1:19) and his words made her wonder.
She was a virgin pledged to be married. She was told that she will be with child and this child will be the Son of God. It was also told her that the child would one day be King in the footsteps of David and His kingdom would never end.
Which mother would not be proud to have a son like that? But Mary, before she could rejoice at the thought, wondered how this could happen since she was a virgin. So she asked: “How will this be since I am virgin?”
Before we move further down the dialogue; let us stop for a moment to think. God’s word is often sent to us. It comes swiftly (Ref. Psalm 147:15) to us. It comes with a message of favor, with authority from the Lord Most High and with the assurance that He is with us. We wonder at the greetings though the message is glorious. Then we think how that can come to pass? The problem is that we are “virgins.” In the human strength that we have, it is impossible to conceive such a dream and give birth to it. We also ask the question: “How will this be?”
But now let us return to the dialogue for the answer. It is lovely: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” Yes, the same Spirit of God who hovered over the waters at the beginning of Creation (Ref. Genesis 1:2)! Ah, this is the secret! It is the Spirit of God that will bring God’s word to bear fruit. It is His creating power that shall cause the virgin to be with child. It is His strength that overshadows us. It covers us fully; even envelops us within it.
Therefore let us not be troubled at the message from God. For it is the power of His Spirit that will bring forth birth to His word. It will happen even though we are “virgins” who are unable to do so on our own.
Coming back to the dialogue, the angel points to one proof of God’s power–“Even Elizabeth.”
Now what about Elizabeth. She was Mary’s relative. She was old and barren. Yet she was now going to have a child; she who was said to be barren!
Now why did the Angel Gabriel mention this fact? He did this because he himself was the one who took the message to Elizabeth’s husband. More than that he wanted Mary to have faith growing in her heart in expectancy. Yes, she had to expect in faith for the word of God to come true. To that end, the angel was pointing to a mercy of God which was thought to be impossible.
Here, let us remember that Mary might never have known about the miracle that was happening in Elizabeth’s life because Elizabeth was in seclusion for five months once she had become pregnant.
Returning to “expecting in faith,” so also God does today. He points us to impossibilities being made possible in the lives of others devoted to Him. As we listen to such news we begin to know faith surging within us. We then wait in expectancy.
Then the angel says. “For nothing is impossible with God!”
And Mary completes the dialogue saying, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”
Maybe, it was the simplest and yet the most profound of all Acceptance Speeches ever!
Shall we follow Mary’s example and say to God this Christmas, “May it be to me as you have said.”
For, nothing is impossible with God!