Monday, December 21, 2009

Angelic Visits

Sixteenth Advent Reading

But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.

Luke 1:29

It’s probably safe to say that most of us would think we were delusional if we saw an angel. We don’t expect angelic visits in spite of the fact that we read about them frequently in the Bible. Throughout the Old Testament angels make appearances to all sorts of people. The psalmist assumes angelic presences in Psalm 34:7—“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him…” But, when was the last time you anticipated, expected, looked for an angel?

Now we come to Mary and we assume a great deal. We know that Gabriel gives her assurances, “Don’t be afraid.” But, how often have we considered, “pondered” Mary’s response at the moment Gabriel bursts into her room. While Gabriel later says, “don’t be afraid”, Luke doesn’t record “fear” as Mary’s first response but “discernment.” She doesn’t seem to be all that surprised by Gabriel. Instead, she looks at the encounter reasonably and rationally. It’s not the presence of Gabriel as much as what he says, “O favored one, the Lord is with you” that troubles Mary and gets her thinking.

We can have a tendency to put Mary in the ultimate spiritual category and yet if Jesus is to be accessible, to all of us, it surely begins with Mary. She was a girl who had learned her daily lessons well--so much so that Gabriel’s appearance isn’t startling. Instead Mary wonders how her life warrants such a visit.

Are you ready for an angelic visit? Don't be afraid. The Lord is with you.

Jesus, your coming was a miracle.
But you came using regular, ordinary means in order
for me know that you are with me.
Thank you, Jesus!

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