God's specialty: the Impossible. Christmas, 2020
The two words make me smile because my first name is Mary . . . Mary Christine. "Ave, Maria", the angel Gabriel spoke to Mary. In Latin, it means Greetings, Mary or Hello. Mary is told, 'you are going to have a son--a holy son--the one and only Son of God. You are highly esteemed by God, and this is how it will happen …' 1 [the picture on the left is a beautiful sculpture of Mary at the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth]
Gabriel's concluding comment to Mary is powerful:
Nothing is impossible with God2
Nothing is impossible with God, the angel said. Let me ask you something, Friend--what have you given up on? What is the mountain that you just can't get over, can't get around or can't get through? What are the impossible odds you are facing? Take heart! Nothing is impossible with God.
After asking, 'but how could this be?' I love Mary's soulful response; in fact, I am tremendously impressed by her "I am the Lord's servant, may it be to me as you have said." bWhat is so significant here is her complete surrender to God's will for her. Is it possible that those who are humble surrender their wills more easily? Is that why God is so moved by the humble of heart?
Mary was a stand alone woman of God ~ so very young and so full of faith, trusting God's goodness. She did not have many answers about what lay ahead, as it was sure to be fraught with difficulties, yet she believed that God had a plan and she would trust him.
It reminds me of what Jesus said, Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.3 I wonder if I would have submitted as easily as Mary, despite her angelic visit--would you? As we are drawing to a close the year 2020, are you willing to trust your unknown future to an unseen God? Hmmm.
Soon after the miraculous announcement, Mary traveled to the home of her cousin Elizabeth in Judea, and stayed with her until the birth of Elizabeth's baby, John. Elizabeth offered Mary words of affirmation, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear. . . Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"4 Mary's heart was filled to overflowing with gratefulness, and she was moved to sing praises to God. How right, how good it is to praise God when we experience a touch of the divine. Note: it is not fully necessary to fully understand or know where the Divine is leading; it is ours to trust and to praise him in the journey.
After spending time with Elizabeth, and experiencing the birth of her nephew, (John-the-Baptist), Mary returned home to Nazareth. She was going to have to tell her family that she was expecting a child, though not just any child; how could they possibly understand? Surely they would not believe her! What difficulty and shame they would face in the little town.
And how about Joseph--what would he have to say about the condition of his betrothed? According to Jewish law, he could have her stoned. But as Matthew records in his gospel, Joseph had also been visited by an angel in a dream, who told him not to be afraid "to take Mary as his wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."5 Joseph obeyed and took Mary as his wife. [Frankly, I don't think the guy gets enough credit. How about his great faith in God, his surrender?]
Back to you - do you believe that ‘nothing is impossible with God’?
With what do you need to trust Him? Perhaps, as with Mary and Joseph, it is about surrender—giving up all of who we are to him. In the 70s there was a silly lapel button that said, "Try God." It really bugged me then, but now I see simple wisdom in it. Though we have doubts, though there might be fears--like, 'what if I trust God to do this or that, and he doesn't come through?'--how would you be any worse off then, friend? Why not TRY GOD? Why not TRUST GOD? What do you have to lose in surrendering yourself to your Maker, the one who loves you completely?
Ave, Maria. We want to learn from your complete trust and truly believe that nothing is impossible with God.
Prayer: Lord, God? While we know in our minds that nothing is impossible with you, we do not often live it out with our wills. May we trust you and give all of ourselves over to who you are, believing as Mary did, that nothing is impossible with you. Amen.
1 - Luke 1.26-38
2 - Luke 1.37, King James Version
3 - John 20.29
4 - Luke 1.44
5 - Matthew 1.20-21