Week 2, Tuesday—Luke 1:26-38
To a Maid Engaged to Joseph by Gracia Grindal
To a maid engaged to Joseph, the angel Gabriel came.
“Fear not the angel told her, “I come to bring good news.”
“Fear not for God is with you, and you shall bear a child.
His name shall be called Jesus, God’s off-spring from on high.
And he shall reign forever, forever reign on high.”
Angels are crucial to the story of Advent. Angels appearing to Mary and Joseph, to the shepherds and the magi, and to Zechariah herald the message: “fear not” and “good news!”
I find their initial statements of “fear not” to be both comforting and discomforting. Comforting in that we are told we should not be afraid. Discomforting because it is likely we will be afraid of what they say. This is like your child calling you and saying, “I’m alright,” before they break into the terrifying story of the accident they were just in.
Messages of “good news” are kind of backhanded blessings found throughout the scriptures. God’s favor tends to be coupled with something other mortals would hate to have to go through. Mary’s predicament of being an unwed mother in ancient Jewish culture is one example. This favor and promise of God’s presence do not eliminate the very real consequences of Mary’s situation. But God’s favor and comfort probably got her through the tough times, at least with a little comfort and encouragement.
What tough times are you facing? Perhaps it is social or cultural, and you are ostracized by your peers or family. Maybe it is simply having to endure unpleasant or downright awful circumstances. Or you may have other forms of a backhanded blessing—a medical condition that reveals something more serious in the nick of time. Know that there is a messenger from God telling you to fear not, no matter the circumstances.
And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you. 'But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.