Read Luke 1:26-37
When Gabriel interrupts Mary’s life, announcing that she will bear God’s son in her own body, her first response is “How can this be?”
Does her question give voice to her doubt? Or simply to her desire to understand? Does her question reveal a protest--surely you have mistaken me for someone else? Or does it simply reveal a young girl courageous enough to interact with a messenger of God?
How can this be? Isn’t this the same question we ask in our most honest moments? In those moments when we wonder if we can believe the Story that God became flesh?
How can this be? we ask when we stare for very long at the possibility of a virgin birth or the idea that the unlimited, uncontainable God would become the size of a poppy seed.
How can this be? we wonder when we recognize that this whole Story is about love—a God who loves us, loves the whole world, enough to do whatever it takes to draw us to himself.
How can this be? How can it be that despite all of my failures, despite all of my selfishness, despite all of the times I choose to turn away from God, God still pursues me? Still loves me with a love that never tires?
Gabriel’s answer is not to give Mary a blueprint, explaining all the details and answering all the questions. Instead, he answers with poetry, reminding us that there is mystery involved in this Story. To enter into God’s love is to allow ourselves to enter into that mystery, to not need every question answered, every detail explained.
Prayer For Lighting the Candle:
God of Grace,
Let this light remind us that your love is one we can neither explain nor comprehend. Draw us deeper into communion with you during this Advent season as we learn to live in your love. For those places in our lives and in our world that desperately long for such a love, show us how we might be bearers of this gift in ways small and large.
In the Name of the Triune God,