Sunday, December 5, 2010

Choose Wisely...

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

Nine years ago, Barbra was pregnant with a little boy. In the ultrasound, we'd seen his little fingers and toes and little boy parts. Barb would have made a perfect Mary in a Christmas pageant that year. I really wanted her to dress up as a nun that Halloween - of course, she would have been a pregnant nun, and she respectfully declined….

Mary makes a conscious choice to follow God's desire in this passage for her to have a little boy. Sure, she questions the angel at first, but then she accepts the Grace of God. " 'I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.' " The story is about choice. It is not about divine rape or about someone who offers us an example of mindless obedient servitude. As people, we have the freedom to choose. We are not robots, blindly doing what we are told.

Almost ten years ago, I chose to marry my wife and be a dad to her little baby girl (who is now 12!). It was a choice that I deeply reflected on since we'd both just come through painful divorces, but it was a good choice. Our second marriage came about with the belief that hope can overcome experience. I'm so glad we both still believed in hope.

Life goes by fast, and we make too many choices without first reflecting. We lose hope. As I remember Mary's reflective response, I pray that I will make good choices this day and for the years to come.

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