Thursday, December 23, 2010

Expecting Angels

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

Luke 1:29

I would think I was delusional if I saw an angel. I don’t expect angelic visits in spite of the fact that I read about them 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, I don’t live my life anticipating, expecting an angel!

Now I come to Mary. Gabriel gives her assurances, “Don’t be afraid.” But I haven’t often considered or “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 but what he says, “O favored one, the Lord is with you” that gets Mary thinking.

I usually 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 somehow learned to expect the unexpected--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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