Reflect Emmanuel is a series of Advent meditations on Emmanuel, our God with us
December 12, 2014Jacob Peters, Class of 2015
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 becalled holy, the Son of God.
And be hold, 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.
Imagine this if you will, while laying in bed one night you get this eerie feeling that someone is with you. You open your eyes, and there is this being (an angel) who calls himself Gabriel. He says that you are going to get pregnant and give birth to a child. On top of that, you will remain a virgin (despite somehow getting pregnant), and you can’t even name the Him, because God already did that. But don’t worry, He will become this amazing leader for the Jewish people.
Now, if I were Mary, I’d probably be pinching myself to wake up, because this makes very little sense. And this is perhaps the most bizarre part of the entire advent story. Mary was given the gift of this child, whom she will call Jesus. She did not understand this, she may not have even wanted it, but she accepted it. God is perfect and all powerful, I already understand that, but as humankind, we are flawed and selfish. Many people think Mary didn’t have an option, however the history of abortion dates back to ancient times. If I were Mary, I would not have accepted it so lightly. I would have presented Gabriel with a laundry list of questions. She only asked one question, just one.
God, presents us with some of the most amazing opportunities. Naturally, in this case, Mary’s pregnancy is a bit more serious. But in our day to day lives, The Lord offers us with choices that can change the path we walk. All we have to do is reach out for those moments, grab them, and not let go. We may only see small glimpses of where this will be taking us but we must trust in The Lord, and trust in the future He has in store for us.
Think, what if Mary laughed at Gabriel, turned her back, and denied her pregnancy?