“A Heavenly Visitor”
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
And Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no husband?” And the angel said to her,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
This is the second great announcement from the angel Gabriel, and it comes 6 months after he appeared to Zechariah. This time, he is sent to Nazareth, where Mary is. It is also noted that she is betrothed (which is the first step in the traditional Jewish marriage process at the time – they were considered legally married, but not yet living together which is why she was still a virgin), to Joseph who is from the house of David. This information is important to prove who Jesus was and where He was from.
Unlike Zechariah’s reaction of being filled with fear and trembling upon seeing Gabriel, Mary was more troubled by his greeting, that she was “full of grace” (saved from original sin) and the Lord was with her, she didn’t understand the meaning behind the words. Gabriel continued by telling her to not be afraid (here comes some great news!) and then told her God’s blessing: that she would conceive a son and she should call him Jesus. Again, Gabriel tells of how great this miracle son will be, just as he did when he talked about John, but this time He will be called Son of the Most High, He will be given the throne of David, will reign over the house of Jacob and His Kingdom will have no end. By this time, Mary would have understood who Gabriel was talking of since she would have studied all the prophecies of a new king told by Isaiah and the other prophets.
After being told all of this, Mary also had a question for Gabriel, but it was very different from the one asked by Zechariah. Mary was thinking in human terms when she asked, “How can this be since I have no husband?” She wasn’t doubting what Gabriel had said about her having a son, she just didn’t know she could be impregnated by the Holy Spirit. It had never happened before! Gabriel explained how it would happen and because it was a divine conception, He would be called Holy and the Son of God.
God’s way is not our way. We all want to do things the way we know how, or only in the way that has been done previously, in our human ways. We need to remember this Advent, that with God, nothing is impossible! He made all creation. He made man from dust. He destroyed creation with a flood. He promised and sent a Savior. He can work in your life without you doing anything but having the faith to love and trust Him.
Finally, Gabriel shares the news that Elizabeth has conceived a son six months ago. What wonderful news that Mary can share in the joy that they both are carrying miraculous babies. Mary responds to all that Gabriel told her by telling him she is the handmaid of the Lord, and she accepts all that he told her.
We may not be visited by Gabriel, but when God has chosen us to do something for Him, we shouldn’t question or doubt, but accept your new role in God’s plan and trust that He will provide all that you need to fulfill His plan. “For with God nothing is impossible.”
My Dear Lord, Help me to trust in your divine plan for me and provide to me all I need to accomplish it for Your glory alone. Help me rejoice in the coming and glory of your Son, who is great and my King of kings. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.