Dig Deeper into Sunday’s Gospel: Read Luke 1:26–38
Can you think of a time when you were chosen for something special? What was it? How did it make you feel?
When I think of times I was chosen out of a crowd, a few moments come to mind. I think of the moment I learned that I had been chosen for my first professional job out of college and the day I got engaged. More recently, I think of the day I learned that my book, Rekindled, had won an award. Maybe for you, it was being part of a sports team or an organization that was recognized for its excellence. Perhaps your family took a moment to notice your hard work or a friend canceled an obligation just to spend time with you. Whether the recognition seems big or small, not one of us can deny that it feels good to know that we are chosen, special, and accomplished in someone’s eyes.
And yet, these moments, whether mine or yours, no matter the reason we were chosen, pale in comparison to the moment when Mary, a fourteen-year-old ordinary young woman, received the news that God had chosen her from among all women.
In this week's gospel, we contemplate the Annunciation. We read in Luke 1:26–28 that Mary was going about her daily duties when her entire universe flipped upside down. The angel Gabriel appeared to her and proclaimed, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28).
Gabriel then brought her the news of a lifetime, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:30–33).
Imagine what it must have been like for Mary to hear those words. As a faithful Jewish woman, she knew the Scriptures and promises made to her people.
As Gabriel told her she would conceive and bear a son, she would have thought of Isaiah 7:14:
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign; the young woman, pregnant and about to bear a son, shall name him Emmanuel.”
When he claimed that her Son would be called the Son of the Highest, she would consider the words of Isaiah 9:5:
“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.”
When he spoke of the throne of David and an unending kingdom, Mary undoubtedly remembered 2 Samuel 7:12-14:
“When your days have been completed and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring after you, sprung from your loins, and I will establish his kingdom. He it is who shall build a house for my name, and I will establish his royal throne forever. I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me.”
Imagine Mary’s realization that she and her Son would fulfill the prophecies of old. She was the virgin who would bring about the Savior. Can you even wrap your mind around coming to terms with such an unfathomable truth?
How did Mary respond? First, she replied, filled with awe. Aware of the weight of the message she had been given, she asked, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” (Luke 1:34). This was not a question of doubt but faith, wondering how God would accomplish this miracle within her.
Second, when she heard the angel’s answer that she would conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit, she gave her consent. God had chosen her for a specific, exalted role in history. And when God sent His messenger to tell her that she had won the lottery of history, she accepted God’s Word and will over her life without a single word of protest. With her consent, she opened her entire being for God to accomplish His will through her. By Mary’s fiat, God fulfilled her destiny and changed ours.
Mary’s fiat beckons you to follow in her footsteps. Although you were not chosen for Mary’s specific role in salvation, God has chosen you, significantly and uniquely, to be His beloved and to fulfill His purpose. It doesn’t matter how important or unimportant you think you are. It doesn’t matter how worthy or unworthy you think you are. You are beautiful and precious in His sight by His choosing—a unique and unrepeatable soul. Through the saving work of Jesus Christ, He has filled you with His grace. And although you might not receive personal visits from angels, God has made clear who you are to Him through His Word.
He tells you in Isaiah 43:1:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name: you are mine.”
He reminds you in Zephaniah 3:17:
“The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior, who will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love, who will sing joyfully because of you.”
In John 15:16, He proclaims:
“It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.”
In Ephesians 1:7, He claims:
“In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace.”
Dear sister, you are chosen.
Through Him, you are a new creation.
By Him, you have a new purpose.
You are His.
The only question that remains is, like Mary, will you give Him your consent? Will you allow Him to bring all these things to life in you without complaint, doubt, or protest?
This can be such a challenging task. Our faults, failures, sins, and shame are never far from our minds. But our consent may make all the difference. By refuting the claims of the enemy and allowing God to do unto us according to His will, God can accomplish all He wants to in us and through us.
It is the fourth Sunday of Advent. Christmas will be here in a few hours. Follow our lovely lady’s example. Give your consent to Him, and accept how He sees you as the ultimate truth. Embrace His forgiveness, and let Him fashion your heart to become what He wants it to be. In this “yes,” the joy of His glory awaits.
Food for thought or journaling...
Take a moment and ask God how He sees you. What is His answer? What is your gut reaction? Do you immediately think of reasons that He is wrong, or do you readily agree, letting His will be done in your life? Why do you think you responded the way you did?
Dear Lord, You chose Mary, an ordinary woman from nowhere special, to be Your mother. You saw in her what the world would never have seen. Help me to believe that when You look at me, You see so much more than what I see—what the world sees. Please give me the grace to accept Your words and will over my life just as Mary gave You free reign to act in and through her. Thank You for giving me such a beautiful mother. Help me to follow her example. Amen.