Saturday, December 3, 2011

Advent, Gabriel, and Mary!

During Advent one of the best examples we can find of how to respond to God, is the Virgin Mary. Many people avoid her altogether, and simply relegate her to a roll of just another human in history. It's a sad event for the Bible gives us an entirely different view of this woman of God. Today I want to talk about one of the first events that happened with her, and how it shows her to be very much a special person and a woman of God. I also want to talk about how this event shows us how we should respond to God's will and the news that Christ is coming again.

"And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.

Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end. And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee.

And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: Because no word shall be impossible with God. And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her."

-Luke 1:26-38

First we see something very important about Mary. Mary was full of grace BEFORE she accepted God's task. This confused the young girl, who was then reassured by the angel that she had found grace with God. She didn't even know about the event that was going to transpire when the Angel declared her full of grace. This is important to note, Mary was different! She was special in God's eyes. She had already found grace with God before the Angel declared she would be the mother of His child.

Next, another very important lesson to learn, is how Mary responded to the information that she would become the theotokos. Many people have been chosen by God over the history of the earth. When God chose Abraham to go into Egypt, Abraham responded by hiding the nature of his relationship with his wife. He failed to trust God. When God chose Moses to deliver his people from Egypt? Moses complained about the fact he couldn't speak well, and over the years made many mistakes.. eventually leading to Moses dying in the desert, never to set foot in the promise land. He failed to trust in God. When God chose Jonah, Jonah ran and eventually had to be taught to follow God. He failed to trust and follow God.

When God chose Mary she said "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done according to they word". Mary, though confused, and likely with many more questions, immediately acquiesced to God's will. This is an example for all of us to follow. When God calls us, we may not believe the reasons, we may not understand how He will do things, we may even ask, "How is this possible?"; but we should say let it "be done to me according to they word."

This Advent let us remember to have this same attitude towards the coming of God! Let us humbly submit to His will, and seek out what He wants us to do. Instead of trying to live life by our own decisions, fearing others and 'hiding our wives' as we enter our own Egypt; let us instead trust in God's promises. How can you learn God's will for you? What can you do today to help yourself, and to show others that you are trusting in God?

In Christ,