Scripture reading: Luke 1:26-38
The Birth of Jesus Foretold
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
Gabriel appeared to Mary and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you!” Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favour with God!”
Mary was anxious when the angel appeared out of nowhere announcing, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.”
Do you struggle to believe you are chosen, loved, and favoured by God? The Greek word for ‘favoured’ in Luke 1:28 means ‘graced’. In fact, the apostle Paul uses the same word in Ephesians 1:6 to describe God pouring out his grace upon us: “to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” How does this helps you receive the good news of God’s grace? What makes it hard to believe? Spend some time giving God thanks for loving you, chasing you, and lavishing you with grace and favour.
Reflect with these words “Don’t be afraid, [name] for you have found favour with God”.
To be anxious is to be human. The question is, what we do with our anxieties? The decision is between hanging onto them or handing them over. After listening to the angel, Mary handed over herself, including her anxieties. “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Faith is entrusting ourselves to the One who is eternally trustworthy, who is worthy of our trust.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious.” (Philippians 4:6)
Write down what you need to surrender into the hands of God — trusting He will respond.
Forgive us, Heavenly Father, for living as though You do not know and do not care, as though You are not our loving Father. As You did with Mary, who first received the good news of “Emmanuel, God with us”, and handed over her troubled heart to you, so also give us such faith that the constant theme of our lives may be, “Lord, let it be according to Your word”. This we trustingly ask in the name of Jesus Christ, her Lord and ours. Amen. Let it be.
(Adapted from God With Us)
The Entire 2017 Reflective Series: