The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Today's Reading: Luke 1:26-38
Devo Author: Chip Jackson
Date: December 13, 2022
Do you remember going to the county fair as a kid? The lights and sounds, cotton candy and corn dogs. The Ferris Wheel, Tilt-a-Whirl, The Bullet, Scrambler, and Bumper Cars! The House of Mirrors was always fun; it was the attraction designed to distort reality by giving participants unusual and confusing reflections of themselves.
Sometimes, life is like a House of Mirrors. Reality gets distorted, we get confused and disoriented by unusual circumstances. In that space, we can lose sight of who we are, where we are headed, and how we will get there. These conditions could be used to describe life in Nazareth around 4 B.C. Nazareth was one of those podunk, backwoods kind of places. A relatively unimportant town, nestled in the obscurity of southern Judah. Noting the marginalization and insignificant reputation of the place, a would-be disciple of Jesus later asks, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”(John 1:46 ESV
). The surprising answer is yes, in large part because of who went to Nazareth.
An angel shows up, Gabriel, who for the second time in months, departs the Throne Room of God, beaming across the universe at warp speed to make a birth announcement on earth. For 400 years, no one had seen an angel. For 400 years, no one had heard a word from On High. And now both are happening in the most unusual place to an unwed virgin, who was soon to be a teenage mom.
Sometimes, life is like a House of Mirrors. But this time, instead of distortion there is clarity, and understanding replaces the confusion. Mary was the right person, in the right place, in the right season.
Gabriel speaks. “Greetings!” This literally means “Joy to You!” He travels straight from heaven to Nazareth and speaks joy to Mary in such a desolate place. He continues, “you who are highly favored!”(28
). This phrase finds its root in grace. Mary is graced, highly honored, greatly favored, a recipient of a gift. Gabriel, sent from God, lets Mary know she is approved of by God, to conceive the Son of God, through the Spirit of God. This is the most astounding birth announcement ever made. Here’s the beginning of the greatest moment in human history. The Word becoming flesh. The Divine as a zygote. The Omnipotent in a fallopian tube. The Eternal in a uterus. The Creator in a womb, in Nazareth!
“The Lord is with you,”(28
) states Gabriel. For Mary, experiencing the empowering presence of God in this moment is of utmost importance as she begins to ponder and wonder about the meaning of this greeting. To know His love for her, His closeness to her, and His plans for her will allow her to see herself, as He sees her, undistorted with no confusion.
Gabriel’s greeting to Mary, is true for the believer in Christ. “Greetings, you who are highly favored, the Lord is with you!” (28
) That is something to remember as we extend Season’s Greetings to one another. That is something to ponder the next time you see your reflection in a mirror!