Friday, December 16, 2011

Thank You, God, for Gabriel

In anticipation of Christmas, I'm revisiting a series of guest posts that I wrote last year for Tommy Nelson. Our family wishes yours a very blessed Christmas season . . . 

Thank You, God, for Gabriel,
Who brought news of great joy.
He said to Mary, “God chose you
To have His baby boy.”

Thank You, God, for Gabriel,
Your precious Christmas gift.
                            A Christmas Prayer

While we could point to many beginnings of the Christmas story, Gabriel’s announcement to Mary sets it all in motion. 

This one scene amazes me.

Imagine yourself as a teenager, when an angel visits. An angel visits. Don’t gloss over that phrase. Imagine a glowing man standing right there in your bedroom, illuminating the room and everything in it, telling you that God has chosen you to bring a Savior—His Son, no less—into the world.

Of course, we know him as Gabriel, but we don’t know if Mary even knows his name. From the looks of things, it’s pretty safe to say that she doesn’t.

She apparently reacts to God’s messenger as we would have. Gabriel’s next words are, “Don’t be afraid.” I’m not sure that a shiny, unexpected visitor telling me not to be afraid would make me any less afraid. But he tries. And we get a clear glimpse of Mary’s emotions at that moment.

The story would come across much differently if Mary had said, “Oh, hey, Gabe. Got any God messages for me?” But Mary is clearly no more familiar with daily angelic encounters than we are. She’s just an ordinary girl with an extraordinary visitor.

Gabriel continues: “God likes you. He’s found favor with you.” How would you react to, “God thinks you’re a good person”? Especially when it’s an angel speaking to a teenager! I’m not sure that I’d understand why God liked me, but I’d want to hear more. Wouldn’t you?

Still, a million questions must be blazing through Mary’s mind at this point. “Is he for real? How’d he get in here? What will my mother say? What will Joseph think?”

How will Mary respond? How would you?

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