We sometimes see the work of angels, but never an angel clothed in glory. To do so would likely be terrifying. After all, “Fear not,” is their first greeting. And Mary was afraid.
“Don’t be afraid”…easy for the angel to say. Mary wasn’t yet the holy mother hallowed in art and music. She hadn’t shared the exhilarating visit with Elizabeth. She was only a young girl, awaiting marriage and entry into the adult world.
Mary had good reason to fear Gabriel’s words. They were not a promise of happiness. For this young, unmarried girl, conceiving a child would mean at best embarrassment, probably the end of her betrothal, and at worst, death by stoning.
She was bewildered. “How? I’m not even married.” And what was this talk of kings and kingdoms? Perhaps only the glorious appearance of Gabriel held her in thrall—kept her from running away in terror and confusion.
Perhaps something more was whispered into her heart…memories of the glory days of Israel and of the promised Messiah? Something resonated in her heart, prompting her answer: “Let it be to me as you have said.” Okay. I am willing.
When God calls upon us, will we, like Mary, step courageously into the unknown, held in the hand of God?
Prayer: O Father, in this season, open our ears and hearts to your voice. May we remember that whatever comes, we are in your hands.
-Fran Wheeler From the Church Street Advent Devotion Book, 2013