December 23, 2015

“How Will This Be?”

Luke 1:26-38

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

—  Luke 1:34

For Mary, the news came too soon. Unlike her relative Elizabeth, who was married, far along in years, and said to be barren, Mary was a young, unmarried woman. She had a future. Her whole life was ahead of her. Still, like her uncle Zechariah, she was greatly troubled when the angel Gabriel appeared to her. When she heard the announcement that she was to give birth to a son who would be great and whose kingdom would never end, she asked, “How will this be . . . since I am a virgin?”

Sometimes the call comes too soon. We have not been prepared to do what’s asked of us. We feel that we do not have the age, the education, the training, or the experience that is needed. Humanly speaking, we thing that what’s being asked of us is impossible. But when Mary asked how this could be, the angel said that the power of the Lord would overshadow her. Gabriel then told Mary that Elizabeth was expecting a child even in her old age, and he added, “No word from God will ever fail.”

Gabriel’s words assure us that God brings about his salvation in ways we cannot begin to imagine. By answering, “I am the Lord’s servant. . . . May your word to me be fulfilled,” Mary became a mentor for all who trust, even if the call comes too soon.

Almighty God, you give life to the dead and call into being things that are not. Help us to respond to your call in the confidence that nothing is impossible with you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Norman Visser

Norman Visser has served as a pastor of churches in Ontario, Nova Scotia, and South Dakota. He states that while he is “not known for waiting patiently,” he is “working on it.” Norman and his wife, Marcia, have three children.

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