Written by The Rev. Andy Dunn - St. Paul's Anglican Church - Gray, KY
“You have found favor with God!”(Luke 1:30)
Can you imagine meeting an angel of the Lord and hearing this announcement? I cannot. We know from Luke’s gospel that a young Mary was in disbelief when she heard these words. This unassuming, innocent, girl going about her own business is suddenly and deliberately visited by this messenger of hope. What would you do? What did she do? Well, from Luke’s account, she simply obeyed and trusted in the Lord.
During this Advent week and the soon to be celebrated Christmas season, we can reflect on Mary’s humble acceptance of God’s will in her life trusting in Him without knowing the outcome. That is faith. Faith plays a major part in our Advent journey to a stable in Bethlehem. Christians look to this babe lying in a manger with hope and expectation that He will come to fulfill the prophecies of old and usher in a new creation, a new eternal life of unending joy with the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. We wait with bated breath that our Savior will come again in glory, not as a mere babe, but as a mighty King.
So, how do we find favor with the Almighty as did young Mary? Are we to be perfect saints to satisfy God’s requirements? We are not, of course, unblemished like Him. We are not without the stain of sin. Why would God find favor in us at all? It is because he loves us beyond measure. He wants us all to experience His unyielding love. Remember, Mary obeyed and had faith. It is the same with you and me. What does Christ ask of us? Call upon the name of the Lord. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself. We hear this command on most Sundays. Be Jesus. Let those around you see Jesus in you. That is how we can find favor with God - simple obedience and love.
This time of year is a perfect time to shine the light of Christ on those who are living in darkness. For those without Christ in their lives, this season can be depressing or even empty. Feelings of loneliness seem to multiply. Depression can take hold. Darkness can overpower the light. It can even happen with our own Christian brothers and sisters. So, I ask you to be aware. Be aware of those around you. Ask the Lord to reveal someone to you right now that needs to see and feel the love of Christ Jesus. While we can be awake and aware and expectant of Jesus’ return, we can still spread His good news with those around us. As we journey toward the stable and beyond to Jesus’ glorious return, let us bring those who know not His story along with us. Love them. Tell them the story. Help lead them to Christ. That is the greatest Christmas gift we can give to each other.
Let us all find favor with God when we answer His call in our lives to spread this amazing news in the same way Mary proclaimed, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”
Come Lord Jesus. Come.