Third Time We Hear “Do Not Be Afraid”

'Lost and Found' by Greg Olsen. Used with Permission.
“Lost and Found” by Greg Olsen. Used with Permission.

Gospel – December 20, 2019 – Luke 1:26-38

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.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”

But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“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 called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.

Two times it is accepted with no arguments. Once it is responded to with doubt.

In our relationship with God what is our response? Joseph and Mary see all things as possible. Joseph has no questions. Mary says, “Ok, I’m your servant.” Zechariah responds to it in disbelief. He limits God while Mary and Joseph accept it.

Do I accept tat God can do anything and trust him? Or, do I believe in him more superficially? Do I “think” he can do it but need it proven?

Joseph had to set aside all he was taught as a man and take a pregnant woman as his wife.

Mary had to risk her life, fear of stoning and living as an outcast.

Zechariah had to risk . . . what? Seeing his wife become pregnant at an advanced age?

Give me, O’ Lord, the faith of a carpenter and his betrothed. More difficult but stronger. Let me not doubt your power but revel in its glory.

Advent is coming to its end. Our preparation is nearly done. The gift we have awaited will soon appear – wrapped in a small child in a stable’s manger.

And that gift? Salvation.

“May it be done to me according to your word.”

“May it be done to me according to your word.”

At least that’s what I heard Him say…

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