And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “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 holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
In Christmas is Not Your Birthday, Mike Slaughter writes, "Every miracle of God is conceived in the heart of a believer, grows in conviction and clarity, and then is delivered through a committed action... In other words, you must have a clear picture in your mind of what God wants to accomplish through you before the miracle can become a physical reality. God plants the seeds of miracles in the hearts of available people who are willing to act on God’s vision."
As people of faith, we believe God is still active in the world, that God interrupts people’s lives, transforms them, and uses them to bring God’s hope and health to the world. In the biblical text, Mary's life is transformed from peasant to prophet, from humble youth to the mother of God, from doubt to discipleship. Mary’s story also can move us from who we think we are to what God has called us to be.
As members of FirstChurch, we’ve recently been challenged to think “Beyond Possible.” Like Mary, we may doubt and question the call. How can that be, since we are just ordinary people? But God is asking us to imagine a miracle through us. We are being called to be transformed during this advent season to bring hope and help to others. We, like Mary, are bearers of God’s love for the world. Are we willing to respond to that vision? Are we bold enough, like Mary, to respond: “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be with me just as you have said.” (Luke 1:38)
Lord God, open our hearts this Christmas to the miracle you plant in our hearts and minds, and give us the faith to respond. Amen.
Rev. Linda Roby, Minister of Congregational Care, Local & Global Missions