Blessings and peace to you and yours as we journey with great anticipation from Advent into the profound hope of Christmas. As we remember and celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we are reminded of God’s amazing capacity to love the world and to do the impossible. Christmas reassures us that God still can, and just might, invade our ordinary lives and give us the opportunity to say, “YES” to participate in God’s divine plan of hope and salvation … even when we don’t expect it or know all the details.
One of the most beloved scenes in scripture, and the greatest story of courage ever told, is The Annunciation (the announcement of the birth of Christ) and Mary’s response to the angel Gabriel when he told her that she would give birth to the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
“When the angel came to her, he said, ‘Rejoice, favored one! The Lord is with you!’ Mary was confused by these words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. The angel said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Mary. God is honoring you. Look! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and he will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father. He will rule over Jacob’s house forever, and there will be no end to his kingdom.’ Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How will this happen?’ … The angel replied, ‘The Holy Spirit will come over you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the one who is to be born will be holy. He will be called God’s Son … Nothing is impossible for God.’ Then Mary said, ‘I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be with me just as you have said.’ (Luke 1:28-38 – selected verses)
It took courage for Mary to say, “let it be with me just as you have said.” Mary’s faithful response did not come without her being troubled and confused and wondering what it meant to be confronted with this unexpected news. Mary’s response did not come without her asking critical questions … one on record is how this miraculous birth would take place when she was still a virgin. Mary’s, “yes,” was the result of her being overwhelmed by the power of the Holy Spirit and her complete confidence in God’s promise to be with her as she answered God’s calling on her life to give birth, to bear witness, to God’s plan of hope and salvation for the world. Her, “yes,” was the honor bestowed on her of being anointed and appointed by God as an agent of transformation … to give birth to Jesus, our Lord and Savior … One who rules and reigns with unconditional love, divine grace, and redemptive power.
In this holy season and in every season, God is always reaching out to us through Christ Jesus, in the ordinariness of our lives … in the beautiful places, the broken places and the barren places … and God comes and meets us in the spaces and circumstances where we need God the most. God is always working for good, and nothing is wasted in our lives. Jesus Christ, who is Light, is always at work shining light that pierces through the darkness and despair in our lives and in the world. Through Christ, we can have a relentless hope, experience deep peace, be loved unconditionally, and have unspeakable joy.
Nothing is impossible for God!
So, I invite us to “let it be” with us according to God’s will “trusting the Holy Spirit to come over us and the power of the Most High to overshadow us” and be bold and courageous witnesses to the Good News of the Gospel … the love, the saving grace, and hope of Jesus Christ. Every testimony, every prayer, every conversation, every effort to listen, every word of encouragement, every act of compassion, every attempt to forgive, every expression of love, and every act of justice we do in Jesus’ name brings more of his light, hope, healing, and peace into the world. Let it be! Nothing is impossible for God!
Executive Secretary to the Bishop
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