Sunday, December 23, 2012

Advent reflections: 4th Sunday - 12/23/2012

“But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.
You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.
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, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
Luke 1:30-33 (NIV)


Sometimes it is in our darkest hour that we finally hear the words from God, “Do not be afraid.” We often go about our days, rushing from one place to another, feeling as though we are spinning our wheels. We attempt to conquer our to-do lists, but they end up longer than before. We pay one bill, and two more come in the mail. We finally “get there”, wherever that may be, only to realize that we are utterly and completely lost. This is the point that many of us know all too well:  the point of complete exhaustion. The point when we feel as if we can’t take another step. We can’t handle another responsibility or deal with another disappointment, and then…

Through the silence. Through the pauses for a deep breath. Through the anxiety and fear. We 
hear it. “Do not be afraid.” You’ve heard it, haven’t you? The voice of God? The voice that calls out to you when you feel as if the final wave has crashed over you, and no amount of strength will bring you to the surface? You hear it. “Do not be afraid,” and suddenly, when you least expect it, you feel the peace that goes beyond your understanding. You realize that He is there, He loves you and you have found favor with Him. 

It’s easy to imagine that Mary may have been in a place like this. She had been going about her life as usual, trying to make ends meet and prepare for her marriage to Joseph. From what we know of this young couple, they didn’t have it easy. Life was not without struggles and fears and they had both probably accepted that their future would be bit of an upward climb. Needless to say, the Bible tells us that Mary was afraid when the Angel Gabriel appeared to her. But rather than first announcing to her that she would become pregnant, and that her baby would be God’s only Son, he focuses on Mary’s immediate need first. One of God’s children was afraid and He comforts her in the way only He can. “Do not be afraid.” 

Lord, we thank You for comforting us when we need You the most. As the Angel Gabriel told Mary to not be afraid, let us hear those same words when we face fears, uncertainties and troubles in life.  Amen  

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