Thursday, December 2
Luke interrupts the Elizabeth/Zechariah story but uses it to date the next episode when Gabriel’s next assignment will be revealed: In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy … God sends his messenger to Nazareth, what one historian described as a “tiny off-the-beaten path hamlet.”
Re-read the conversation because it is upon these verses that much of our historical and personal faith rests. Here we see God’s long-awaited, appointed intervention in the sad story of human history. The words recorded in Judges 21:25 were again sadly true: In those days Israel had no king, everyone did as they saw fit.
Gabriel announced the astounding details to Mary with clarity:
God sees you, God is with you
Conception will be an act of God
The child’s name will be Jesus
The child will be great and will be the Messiah
Understandably Mary doesn’t seem to grasp the Grand Plan. Her first response is down-to-earth and personal. “I hear all that, Gabriel, and I’m edging toward belief, but do you realize this is physically impossible?”
Without berating Mary for incomplete faith, Gabriel says “This will be a totally God thing, Mary, so that only God will get the glory. But to help your belief along, let me tell you that something similarly impossible is happening in your cousin’s life. God is set to do new things in new ways.”
I’ve heard it said that old keys can’t open new doors. But old keys and old doors are the familiar ones, we know what’s behind the old doors. New doors with new locks present challenges we’re ill prepared for. What new door faces you this Advent? Are you ready to turn the key?