Many years ago, I was upstairs, when I heard the voice of my four-year old daughter begin to shout, “I have great news, great news.” She ran up the stairs as fast as she could, continuing this refrain, ” I have great news, great news!” When she got reached the top of the stairs, she was nearly out of breath, but continued to say, “It’s great news.” Finally, I asked her, “Suzanne, What is the great news?” Her eyes were wild with excitement as she said “Oh, daddy. Pizza Hut is giving away free Beauty and the Beast characters!”
Now for my four-year old, that was great news; but for me it was not so great. I mean, if Pizza Hut was giving a car with every pizza, that would be great news. Great news often depends on the ears of the hearer.
I think of that when I read the Advent story of the angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary.
The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him 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 ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:30-33).
After a brief conversation, Gabriel announces to Mary that the child will be conceived by the Holy Spirit. When I hear this story many questions race into my mind.
Did Mary hear this as “good news?” What kind of favor is God giving to her? How can a pregnancy be great news when she is still a virgin and is not married? What will her family and friends say? What will Joseph, her fiancé, think? Does she fully understand what this pregnancy will mean?
The scriptures do not record Mary’s thoughts or feelings. But they do record her words, “Let it be with me according to your word.” Words of trust and hope.
Sometime we may feel overwhelmed with doubts and fears, questions and stress. Our world can seem so untrustworthy. Yet we, like Mary, need to hear the good news of God’s favor. God has promised to come to us in Jesus and his kingdom will not end. Like Mary, let us respond in trust, “Let it be with me according to your word.”
Lord Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, renew my trust in you.